Stories of rescue, someone defying the odds, warm my heart. Accounts of Robin Hood and other stories of old when the King would come riding in to save the day are what fairy tales are made of. I especially enjoy a story when someone, the “underdog” is saved from doom or ruin, or love stories where things are made right – a perfect Sunday evening “good vibes” movie where the guy and the girl, against all odds, come through.
On the other side are the stories of those who “got what they had coming to them.” Cheers when the bad guy goes to jail or the swindler gets caught. No, I don’t like it when the bad guy gets away, or is otherwise “bailed out.”
When I hear the word, “bailout” I think of the recession that hit back around 2008/09. During that time, there were businesses that were bailed out by the government; many of these organizations receiving help were at the core of the recession. They didn’t deserve the help but, according to people much wiser than myself, it was needed to save not only the companies that received the bailout but also had a ripple effect in saving the economy from total ruin. What I am sure of is that it wasn’t a good time for many people and we wondered why companies that caused the trouble in the first place were given a bailout they didn’t deserve!
Then, just at the moment when I feel most self-righteous, I remember that there was a time, many times in fact, when I also needed a bailout. For the most part, I likely didn’t deserve the rescue, much like those companies who that didn’t deserve bailing out. I simply didn’t merit any help, or was in any way worthy of rescue; I deserved whatever consequence was coming my way.
Thankfully, my God is One Who doesn’t care about my worthiness, for I am, without Him, totally unworthy. The reason he chooses to bail me out of my predicament, to rescue me, is this: I know the right Person to call on, I have my Knight coming on His horse, swords waving, to rescue me, the apple of His eye. I know what strings there are to pull: faith, belief, trust, in Him! I’m undeserving of such grace, and truth be told, none of us are. He arrives on the scene with unlimited resource that, unlike government bailouts, doesn’t have to be paid back – we couldn’t pay Him back even if we tried.
The rescue doesn’t usually come wrapped in the shining armor of a knight; that means it won’t be an instantaneous rescue. God’s rescues, while undeserved on our part, never come as we suspect. They come in the most unexpected, almost surprising, of ways and are usually “in the works” for a very long time before we ever even know that we needed them.
Judges 13:1-5 NLT “Again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines, who oppressed them for forty years. In those days a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. His wife was unable to become pregnant, and they had no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, ‘Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazarite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.’ ”
In this story, Israel had sinned again and as a result ended up oppressed by their archenemy the Philistines. God did not send His people into captivity; their sin sent them into captivity. Time and again He warned His people of the consequences of sin – and they knowingly gave into sin and ended up oppressed.
How many times has that happened to me, to you? Times when we’ve been warned, clearly informed, that there would be consequences to our actions but we “knew better” and, in the end, needed a rescue because we were so stubborn? We didn’t know as much as we thought we did – but God has always been faithful, preparing our rescue before we knew we needed it.
Samson, when he was born, was unable to rescue Israel. He had to grow up first; there were some years in between the beginning of the rescue and the actual rescue. During that time Israel continued to be oppressed – but the rescue was on the way. All the time they waited, I’m sure they wondered, “Isn’t it time for the rescue yet?”
Samson was, if you read his whole life story, not a “normal” judge. He was impatient, impulsive, quick to anger, made poor choices, and still God used him to defeat the Philistines and release the Israelites from their oppression. Who would have thought God would choose someone like Samson to deliver Israel? Yet in chapter 16 of the book of Judges in his life’s final moments when it appeared all was lost and God’s rescue plan had failed, he killed thousands of Philistines and God’s rescue came. It seemed to come suddenly, but it was not sudden at all – God had planned this rescue for many years.
As I write this, you are most likely in the middle of one or more situations that require a “bailout” because you just don’t know what to do. Let me encourage you – before you asked for it, God began preparing the rescue for you. It may not be time yet for the rescue to come, but it will certainly come at just the right moment.
Remember, Israel waited for years for Samson to become a judge, and even when he did become a judge, it didn’t seem that he would be able to rescue them. Samson was a busy chasing woman, killing lions, and getting the Philistines even angrier at Israel. No, it didn’t’ appear that Samson would be able to save Israel at all. All the while, as Israel waited (sometimes impatiently, wondering if indeed Samson was the means of God’s rescue) God was working, weaving His plan into the course of time. You see, God lives outside of time. When He sent Samson, time and eternity met for God reached into time and sent His answer in a small baby; a baby who was not only an answer to the prayers of his parents who had not had children, but also in answer to the prayers of an entire nation.
In the same way, God has reached out from eternity and sent your answer. It’s now time to wait for the answer, your Samson, to grow. While you wait, it may feel as though you are languishing away under the oppression of enemies like the Philistines. It may even seem that you saw some hope dawn on your horizon only to have those hopes dashed when the rescue apparently was lost in an unforeseen disaster. It is at that very moment of “all is lost” that God’s rescue will suddenly, as it did with Samson and Israel, dawn on the horizon.
While you wait for God’s rescue to come, never give up on His promises. Never, even for a moment, believe that God has turned His back on you. As it was with Samson’s rescue, so it will be for you. Suddenly, as if by surprise, there will come a moment when His answer to that prayer you breathed at your most difficult moment, will come.
The plan to rescue you is on its way.