The first time I was rescued was March 13th, 1980 (yes, I just gave my age away. I turn the big 3-0 this year). I was born under complete emergency circumstances. I was two weeks early, breech, and literally stuck. The doctor told my mother that if she didn't consent to an emergency c-section, if I lived, I would be brain-damaged at best. She agreed immediately and I was born healthy with a head of dark hair at 6lbs exactly.
That may have been the first rescue but it wasn't the last. I'd require many more after that.
When I was just a baby, probably not even two, my dad took me outside on a snowy afternoon (we lived in Colorado when I was little) to ride the sled down the drive way. My dad would let me go a little ways and then stop me so I wouldn't careen down the hill. However, after a few successful runs, he lost his grip and I went flying down the driveway, across the road and down the steep slope on the other side. My dad said he thought for sure I slammed into a log or rock and was not sure what he would find as he went running after me. Once down the hill he found me, still holding on to the sled, wedged into a snow covered embankment face first. He pulled me out expecting a terrified and possibly injured little girl. He wiped the snow from my face and pulled my hat, which hand fallen down over my eyes, up so I could see again. But I wasn't hurt at all or even scared. I looked up at my dad smiling as said, "Do 'gain Dad." He laughed, thanked God I was ok, and climbed up the hill with me in his arms. God guided my sled that day and my dad knew it. God rescued me.
Later that summer, still a little girl, my dad took me for a walk. Our house was off the main road a bit and our particular street was not paved. I liked to walk on it with my dad and find rocks and things. Sometimes he would put me on his shoulders and we would go to the dairy queen for one of those ice cream cones dipped in the chocolate that hardens. I loved those! On this particular day we were just strolling along exploring and enjoying being outside. I had walked my little two year old self thirty yards or so ahead of my dad. He had is eye on me but I was quite content to wander independently along. Just then, he saw it. A very large dog, 100 feet away, crouched silently on the other side of the embankment, eyes locked on me moving toward me, stalking me. It was clear that dog wanted me for lunch and my dad said a shot of adrenaline ran through his body. There was no way he could run fast enough to get to me before the dog did, but he also knew he had to do something. Just then the dog sprung from its crouch and started running directly for me at full speed. My dad looked around for something to throw, desperate to deter the dog's intentions. He grabbed a rock and said a prayer. He had one shot. If he missed there wouldn't be enough time to throw another rock before the dog got to me. With all his might he let that rock fly. It hit the dog right behind its front leg square in the ribs fifteen feet from where I stood, frozen. The dog immediately ran off yelping and my dad scooped me up and took me home. There is no question that God placed that rock on that road for my dad to pick up that day and guided its path. Instead of being mauled, and maybe even killed, I was rescued.
And my rescues were not only physical. I have been rescued in many ways.
I went to the river bottom one summer to smoke a cigarette. A friend and I stole some smokes from her dad. But just as we tried to light up a bee stung me on my inner thigh. I gave up my rebellion and went home to get some ice. I was convinced it was God punishing me. But now I think it was God rescuing me...from stupidity.
In seventh grade some girls in school decided they didn't like me and wanted to beat me up. I took the threats and torment for a week without telling my parents, but when one of the girls slammed my head into my locker when school got out, the big goose egg on my forehead sort of gave it away. I went home and filled my parents in on my week of hell and tried to figure out what to do about it. My mom wanted to call the police. My dad said no, that would only make it worse, and suggested I call their bluff and agree to fight the girl who hit me when my back was turned. I thought my dad was crazy. But he was very serious. He new that I couldn't shy away from this, I had to face it head on. So, despite my complete fear and unwillingness, I went to school Monday and told my foe that I would meet her at the bike racks on early day to settle things once and for all. She agreed and it was on. As you can imagine, early day loomed over my head as I pondered just how this "fight" would go. I was not exactly tough stuff. My dad promised that he would be there waiting in his truck, parked where he would see me, but wouldn't be seen by us. Sure enough early day came and I faced my enemy. We met, scuffled, and well, that was the end of it. She didn't kill me as I imagined. I was not beat to a pulp. I was a little dirty and so was she, but over all she quickly lost interest in killing me and we went on our way. I walked back to my dad's truck dusty with messed up hair and burst into tears as soon as I got inside. But I quickly gained my composure and realized that I wasn't scared anymore. I was dirty and a little shaken up, but free from torment. God did not rescue me from all the evils of junior high nor prevent my fight at the bike racks that day, but he did (largely through my dad) rescue me...from fear.
I also had a friend while growing up who was molested for years by a family member. I spent I don't even know how much time at her house. Yet in all those years, all those sleep-overs, not once did anyone try to abuse me. Not even a little. It was not until I was older that I became aware of God's protection on my life at that time. God rescued me from life-altering harm.
Years later I asked my mom why she thought that I was protected from danger we were not aware of. She said she thinks it is because she raised me to give injustice a voice. I could not be manipulated by an abuser. I would have told for sure. And I think she is exactly right. God set up every part of my life, from the parents he gave me and what they taught me, to the placement of a rock on a road or an embankment of snow, all with my rescue in mind.
Upon conception His hand of grace was on me. Before I even comprehended life, it was given to me over and over again.
When Aubrey and Ellie were in the hospital I was so certain of our rescue. I prayed like I had never prayed before, asking for a miracle, asking to be spared, asking to be saved. God certainly rescued us all, just not as I had hoped. And it has been hard for me to come to terms with a rescue that didn't feel much like a rescue at all.
My Jesus has rescued me from death at birth, rescued me from sin into a relationship with him as a young child, rescued me from danger, fear, and stupidity. But he did not rescue me from loss. He rescued my girls, but I feel left behind from that rescue.
How can I trust I will be rescued this time. I know this new baby will be rescued either way, but will I? Will it feel like a rescue or will I have to believe by faith that it is?
I don't know about you, but I am ready to not just be rescued, but feel rescued.
You see, we all have to be rescued. It starts at birth but it certainly does not end there. Our rescue is never over on earth. I guess you could say we are in need of constant rescuing.
Sometimes even re-rescuing. Ok, all the time re-rescuing.
But for those of us without our babies, we have a different perspective. Or at least we should. We know the rescuing is over for our little ones who now reside in heaven. They have been rescued! The process is over for them. They are perfect, they are whole, they know no pain, physical or emotional. They will never lose anything as they have gained EVERYTHING.
Their rescue is complete.
It is ours that is still awaiting fruition.
Ultimately our complete rescue awaits, but in the meantime my humanness needs an extra dose of encouragement. My faith, unfortunately, needs a pep talk from time to time. It is hard to feel rescued while still wondering in the wilderness of grief and loss. Knowing I will be delivered does not erase the feeling of being lost. Sometimes I just need to feel rescued.
Aubrey and Ellie were rescued in a way that I can only know. It will never feel like a rescue to me. But after 18 months of coming to terms with their rescue, and learning that I can truly trust my Heavenly Father and his ways, I still can't help but hope for something very different with this new baby. I want to feel rescued this time...
It is very possible that rescue feels like a tiny, squishy, red-head wrapped in a blanket breathing little breaths onto my cheek.
But if I don't get the rescue I hope for, I will still trust. God is faithful and if he chooses not to deliver me from loss again in the way I am praying for He will most certainly still rescue me just as He always has since the day I was born.
...you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you;I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isa 46:3-4 NIV