Moving from Rescue to Restoration

outhouseFor the past couple of years I have posted a blog entry around the 31st of October in which I relate a Halloween prank which had disastrous consequences for a young man. This year I am re-posting the entry with an additional commentary based a teaching that was the perfect sequel to the initial posting:

Halloween and some of its negative aspects, such as pranks, remind me of an incident a friend shared with me when he went to live with a relative in the rural South where there was no indoor plumbing, and everyone used an outdoor toilet known as an “outhouse.” Unbeknownst to my young friend, the custom on Halloween night was to move the “outhouse” from its original position so that when a person stepped inside, he would fall into the pit. That’s exactly what happened, and my friend immediately cried out, “Daddy, Daddy, come and get me!” His father came running with a flashlight and reached down and grabbed his son by the collar and snatched him out of the horrible pit.

That incident never fails to remind me of a spiritual parallel whereby I, like the young boy in horrific circumstances, called out to my Heavenly Father in desperation. I identified with my friend and expressed my thoughts in some of the lines of “my testimony in poetry”:

With lovin arms you reach way down

And snatched me from Satan’s outhouse,

Sought me and flat-out rescued me,

Fixed me up in my Father’s house.

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

(from Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance)

Like the Psalmist we may find ourselves in situations whereby we cry out to God:

Psalm 35:17

Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

Like Daniel in the den of lions, we sometimes find ourselves in desperate, seemingly impossible situations from which we cannot extract ourselves on our own. When we think of such situations like that of Daniel, we must remember the King’s response when God delivered Daniel:

Daniel 6:27

He [the God of Daniel] delivers and rescues, and he works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

In thinking about the record of Daniel in the lion’s den, the words of a Black Spiritual also raise an important question:

Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel, deliver Daniel, Deliver Daniel?

Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel? Then why not every man?

During times of intense pressure and overwhelming circumstances, I sometimes forget just how faithful God has been in responding to my call, but He gently comforts and reminds with these words:

   Listen to Me

Isaiah 46:3-4

Listen to me. Open your ears and clearly hear

I have always been there. Though you had not perceived

My presence in the wasteland, I was ever near.

Indeed, I knew you before you were first conceived.

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He

Who still holds you and causes you to remember.

I open deaf ears and cause blinded eyes to see

The passion that consumes your soul was once an ember.

Though I seem to be delayed, I will not tarry

But will return for the faithful ones who remain:

Those whom I have made those I will also carry;

Those whom I have called by name I will sustain.

Rest in me: I will perform all I said to do.

Know that I will sustain you and will rescue you.

Every Halloween when I recall my friend who found himself in a horrific situation and called out to his father or whenever I find myself in a horrible mess, generally of my own making, I am also reminded of this truth that when I cry out, my Heavenly Father will come “to the rescue.”

The calling out to God in desperation to “come rescue me” is beautifully expressed in this rendition of “I Need You Now” by Smokie Norful:

Earlier this week, I heard a message from Minister Phyllis Simmons-King of Christian Provision Ministries, entitled “Moving from Rescue to Restoration,” which appeared to be a perfect sequel to my annual Halloween reflections. The objective of her teaching was “To encourage you to stay encouraged while moving from rescue to restoration.” In expounding upon the cleansing of the 10 lepers in Luke 17, only one of whom returned to glorify God (“. . . and he was a Samaritan”), Minister Simmons-King, noted that there is an intermediary stage between “Rescue” and “Restoration,” that being “Recovery.” This phase involves a process that takes time, as we look to God and His Word to be strengthened and encouraged as we move toward our ultimate destination. The masterful teaching brought to mind the song “Restoration” by the Winans, the perfect way to cap off the initial sharing and the recent sequel:

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2 Responses to “Moving from Rescue to Restoration”

  1. Phyllis Says:

    Dr. Johnson,
    Powerfully deep insight & wisdom do I find in this blog, as I read YOUR reflections on this very important necessity of always remembering to “Give Thanks to our Creator and Lord” I am reminded of HIS Everlasting and Unquenchable LOVE for us and how we must in turn love one another.
    Thank you for sharing and in so doing, continuing to empower us through the Word of God.

    • Dr. J Says:

      Minister Simmons King,

      Thanks so much for stopping by Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe and taking the time to comment. I appreciate the encouragement and support. Thanks again for your ministry of the Word that contributed to this blog entry.

      Blessings always

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