Recently I told you about the small coloured flags scattered throughout my neighbourhood. Mine is one of the many yards to have another feature added.
Men arrived in my yard one day and dug a deep hole. It was fenced off by a piece of wood on four sides with orange reflective tape strung between them. A piece of plywood with the words Danger Deep Hole spray painted on the surface covered the hole.
Once the service work has been completed, the hole will be filled in and the wood and tape removed. In the meantime, these markings serve as a warning to keep me from falling into the pit.
Even though the area marked off in my yard is not as large as in some others, it could still be hazardous to stumble into.
I haven’t fallen into a physical hole but have slipped into pits of despair. My missteps led me onto unstable ground and I ended up in a deep, dark hole. There were probably warning signs but nothing as obvious as reflective tape and spray painted letters.
There seemed no way to climb out of the mud and mire. I wallowed in this despair until I called out to the one who could rescue me. The Lord heard my cry and lifted me up. He lovingly set my feet on solid ground. With Him walking beside me I am not concerned about falling into this pit again.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. (Psalm 40:2 NLT)
My attention was diverted from the exercise instructor when I saw the flashing lights. Two fire trucks pulled up and stopped not far from the floor to ceiling windows.
Curiosity got the best of me as I watched what was going on outside. I went through the motions of exercise but my focus was definitely not on what I was doing.
One of the trucks extended and turned its ladder. I could see it reach the roof of the building. For a brief moment, a firefighter was visible on the roof before moving out of sight. I wondered what was going on.
After some time the ladder swung away from the roof. Two fire crew and a stretcher were visible at the top of the ladder. As it descended, this portion of the ladder was blocked from view and I was once again left to speculate. A short time later both fire trucks pulled out of the parking lot.
I don’t know the situation that unfolded that morning. What I do know is the brave members of fire departments do not hesitate to rush in, lights flashing, sirens blaring, to rescue us from harm. When we call on them for help we know they will respond.
They are always looking to update their equipment so they can reach us faster and serve us more efficiently. They risk their lives in order to protect ours. Why do they do this? Because it is what they are called to do.
I know someone else who rushes to help me when I call out in distress. Jesus is always available to come to my rescue.
He didn’t just risk his life; he freely gave it up in order for me to have eternal life. He paid a debt he didn’t owe to provide me with a gift I didn’t deserve.
Lights and sirens aren’t required. His methods never become outdated. I know that when I call, nothing will get in the way of Jesus rushing to my rescue.
“During times of trouble I called on the Lord. The Lord answered me and set me free from all of them.” (Psalm 118:5 GWT)
I experienced one of the most profound moments of my life while on vacation this summer. My husband and I were at the Bay of Fundy and saw the bay full of water at high tide. At low tide we were able to walk amid the rocks and shells on the ocean floor.
This experience moved me to tears. At first I couldn’t understand why it was having such a deep impact on me.
The farther out I walked, the more I thought of the biblical story where God parted the waters of the Red Sea. The Israelites faced certain doom from the Egyptians pursuing them. God intervened and saved them by dividing the sea to enable them to cross on dry land. He then closed the waters, destroying their pursuers. First came trust in God to do the seemingly impossible, then came the miracle that saved them.
Walking on the sand in this bay that was filled with water just a short time earlier, reminded me of the times God has done something miraculous and unexpected in my life. He may have saved me from self-destructive behaviour or other dangers, but I know when I come to Him in complete faith and trust, He will take care of me. He always has and always will.
The visit to the Bay of Fundy was a powerful reminder of my personal Red Sea experiences.
“And as for you, lift up your staff and extend your hand toward the sea and divide it, so that the Israelites may go through the middle of the sea on dry ground.” (Exodus 14:16 NET)
According to the calendar, it was now spring. Thursday night snow had fallen. Not the fine, icy crystals of winter snow, but the fat, wet flakes that fall in spring and accumulate quickly.
Therefore, it was no surprise when I woke up on Good Friday to see our yard covered in a blanket of white.
I thought the symbolism behind this was perfect. Good Friday is the day we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us. He shed his blood and gave his life in order that our sins may be forgiven.
In the Bible the Lord says our sins are like scarlet and he will make them white as snow. The blood that Jesus shed so many years ago paid the ransom for my sins to be forgiven.
I stood in church singing the words “Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.”
On Good Friday I thought of the blood of Jesus and then looked upon the earth that was now white with snow. The result of his ultimate sacrifice had a new visual to remind me of the greatest love ever shown. There is nothing I could ever do to deserve this grace.
I am humbled as I praise him once again and pray that my life will be lived in a way that is honouring to him.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NLT)
So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. (Ephesians 1:6-7 NLT)
On the outside of the patio door stood a cat that seemed to be pleading to be taken in and loved. It was mid-January and extremely cold in Northern Alberta. A young family was visiting aging relatives when they saw this pathetic creature.
It was obviously malnourished and the long hair was dirty and matted. The older couple said the cat had adopted them and they put bits of food out for it when they could. There was no intention of making this animal a member of their household. In the ice and snow they weren’t even able to go outside to show it any attention.
The young son of the family was enthralled with the cat and finding it to be gentle, spent much time bundled up and sitting on the deck holding it in his lap.
His dad knew the cat wouldn’t survive if left like this. Compassion took over and the decision was made to rescue it and take it home with them. The children were thrilled.
With proper nutrition and a loving home the cat has flourished. I wonder if it realized that the decision to adopt it was life-saving.
When I learned about this situation I thought of the rescue mission Jesus performed on my life. I was lost and seeking the love and acceptance that only he could give. Jesus adopted me into the family of God and gave me the spiritual nourishment I needed.
This has allowed me to thrive rather than just survive. He rescued me in this life and ensured that I will be with him forever more. I will be eternally grateful that Jesus brought me into his loving care.
And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. (1 Thessalonians 1:10 NLT)
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)
Let me start by saying that I am not a swimmer. I enjoy being in the water as long as my feet can touch a firm surface and my face doesn’t get wet.
Our vacation was nearing an end. I had walked along the shore daily but had not ventured into the sea. The conditions were perfect with sunshine, hot temperature and calm water and I knew I needed to make the most of the opportunity.
I waded into the refreshing water. Soon I felt adventurous enough to take hold of a small boogie board that was handed to me. My intention was not to ride it but to lie across it and float.
Balancing my body across this board without tipping was a much bigger challenge than I anticipated. When I achieved my goal I was filled with satisfaction.
I relaxed, laid my head on the board and closed my eyes. What a wonderful feeling! It seemed like only moments before I looked around and realized I had drifted quite a distance from my husband. The water was now deeper than I was comfortable with. My feet could no longer touch the bottom.
I hung on tightly to the board as I kicked my feet and fought back the panic. The tide seemed to be working against me and the shore was not getting any closer.
Then I saw my husband making his way towards me. He took hold of the cord attached to the board and towed me to safety. I was so relieved that I didn’t mind his admonishment that I should have been more attentive to my surroundings.
This was an example of what happens in my life when I drift along without paying attention. Soon I’m in over my head. The Lord is always there to rescue me. Sometimes he waits for me to call for help. Other times he sends someone to help me even before I realize I’m in trouble.
Drifting aimlessly is never going to get me where I want or need to be. The prudent thing for me to do is to be attuned to the wisdom only he can give. Then I will have clear direction and not drift off course.
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverbs 12:15 NIV)
It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 GWT)
My husband and I were driving along the highway that is the main corridor between Calgary and Edmonton. The traffic ahead started to slow and looked like it was coming to a standstill.
It didn’t take long for us to find out the problem. Two calves were running down the middle of the highway. A couple of vehicles drove along the median to get in front of the calves. They then attempted to block their way, forcing them to move to the grassy verge and safety. The calves were obviously frightened and got around the truck that had parked sideways along the lanes. They kept running as other vehicles came alongside. The rescuers persisted and soon got the calves safely off of the highway.
This rescue was not only interesting to watch, it also illustrated life lesson for me. Like these calves, I have occasionally found myself in a foreign and unsafe environment. God relentlessly pursued me to bring me to safety. There were times that, frightened, I keep running straight ahead, unaware of the rescue attempt. It was only by submitting to God that my peace and security were found. He is the one that sees what dangers may lie in my future. By staying close to God, there is less chance of straying. If I do take a wrong turn and end up where I shouldn’t be, I know that I only need call out and He will rescue me.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; Isaiah 53:6 NIV
It has been a winter for the record books. The temperatures have been colder and we’ve received more than double the usual snowfall. This combination can make driving a little more challenging.
As my husband and I were traveling along a major highway, we saw several vehicles that had gone off of the road. One was a pickup truck that was perfectly balanced on the roof of its cab, wheels in the air; reminding me of a turtle placed on its back. A little further on a jackknifed semi caused some major traffic delays as lanes were closed while crews worked to rescue it.
Once we passed this scene and were back to 2 lanes of traffic, it surprised us how fast people were driving. Yes, they lost some time with the backup, but did they learn nothing from the vehicles stranded in deep snow?
This, in my eyes, was a good metaphor for life. How often do I hurry along at my own pace, despite the conditions because I am determined to get where I want to be when I want to be there? Do I tend to call on God, like my personal tow truck, relying on him to come and rescue me when I get stuck? Once he sets me back on the proper road, do I reevaluate my speed and direction or just rush off on my own again? The road of life I travel will have less slippery spots if I slow down and allow God to direct my pace.
A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 God’s Word Translation