Delivered To, Not Just From

Monday, August 20, 2018

"Save me, God!"

We've all uttered these words at some point in our lives -- when we're desperate, when we're at the end of our rope, when we've given up hope.

When we're at this point, we become so focused on what we need deliverance from. Our dire circumstance locks us into tunnel vision so that we can't see anything beyond the present. Foreseeing any sort of future beyond where we are is impossible.

If anyone was in the midst of impossible circumstances where all hope seemed lost, it was the Israelites. Over and over again, the Old Testament tells the story of how God delivered his people and gave them a new future. They cried, "Save me, God!" and he listened. He saved them out of his loving kindness (hesed).

But he didn't stop there.

God delivered his people because he loved them, but God also delivered them because they were his vehicle through which he would bring redemption to the entire world.

God doesn't just deliver us from something; he delivers us for something.

God delivers us from our sin so that we can participate in his kingdom. He delivers us from our addiction to our sinful nature so that we can live lives characterized by his holiness. He delivers us from unhealthy habits, relationships, and situations so that we can experience his full shalom. God desires to deliver us for something.

There have been several times in my life when God delivered me from something and for something. I keep thinking back on all the ways I've seen his faithfulness:
  • When I first decided to follow Christ, I remember feeling a deep sense of belonging and purpose, like God was calling me to a new life in him. 
  • When God delivered me from bondage to my sinful nature (we Wesleyans call this process "sanctification"), I sensed a call to ministry. 
  • When God delivered me from the pressures of fitting into the "Biblical scholar" role forced upon me while I was in seminary, he gave me a job that helped me discover my best self.
This past year, God delivered me in a huge way from a toxic church system. He gave me a way out when the dysfunction was at an all-time high and my hope was at an all-time low. He fought for me, and all I had to do was be still. He gave me the words to say, and the courage to say them. I can't express how grateful I am for his faithful, loving kindness.


While I certainly know what I was delivered from, I'm still not sure what I was delivered for. When we're stuck in sin, abuse, and injustice, it's hard to imagine a future. The tunnel vision persists. Then suddenly we're out on the other side and a big, wide-open future exists.

Even before we can tentatively imagine a future for ourselves beyond the "now," God already has. 

God's grace goes before us and starts preparing a new way. And so in this new season of slowness and quietness I am waiting and listening. I'm trusting that God has a "for" in mind. I'm resisting the urge to rush into something new just for the sake of having "something." Instead, I'm looking for the ways that he is leading me and the quiet ways that he has consistently showed up every day.

God was faithful to deliver me, and he will be faithful to guide me.

Trust in God's goodness with me, dear friend. May our brave act of resistance be imagining new futures with new purposes.

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