The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
- Zephaniah 3:17
Years ago, we had access to a cabin in the woods. It was about thirty minutes away by way of the back roads of East Texas, and it was nothing short of wonderful. There was no electricity and no running water, but that made it such a great place to go and relax. It was so quiet and peaceful – no traffic sounds or electronic noises, just the trees and the birds. It was always so pleasant to spend a day there.
My best memory of that camp house happened one winter day. My husband and I brought our girls, who were probably 13 and 10 at the time, out for a day of hiking and a picnic. As we pulled in, the three of them took the dogs and went for a hike, and I stayed back in the truck to take a phone call (not too far out in the woods for cell phone towers!) It was cool outside - maybe somewhere in the 50’s - breezy, with not a cloud in the sky. It was a little too chilly just to stand around outside, so I stayed in the car and was on the phone for at least twenty minutes. I started to get a little warm, but I did not have the keys and could not roll down the window. So in the middle of my phone conversation, I opened the car door to let in a little cool air - and then chaos broke loose!
My husband, as is his habit, had locked the doors of the truck as they walked away because he always likes to make sure we are safe. I still do not know exactly what happened, but when I opened the door the car alarm was activated. I had no idea how loud a car alarm could be until ours was blaring in the middle of that once-peaceful clearing. I shut the door, nothing. I opened the door again, nothing. I got out, I got back in – it was ridiculous. My poor friend on the other end of the phone call was laughing with me until we finally hung up, but I just couldn’t seem to figure it out. The horn blared away for what seemed like a very long time.
What happened next will definitely remain one of my treasured memories for the rest of my life. Up the path, through the trees came my husband. He was running fast, his strides long and steady, arms pumping, heading right for me and the truck. His hair was shining in the sun - it was even better than something out of a movie! Just then, the alarm finally quit and the woods were silent again.
He was at the truck in a moment, and saw that everything was okay. We laughed when I told him I made all that noise just by opening the door. He and the girls had been pretty far away in the woods when they heard the horn, and he thought something was wrong and that I purposely had set off the alarm to call for help. A couple of minutes later, two girls and two bulldogs came through the trees, breathing hard. Their dad had told them, “keep up!” when they all heard the alarm blaring. We had a good laugh and a good time sharing our version of the story, and that picnic day is a great memory for all of us.
But here is the thing - I will never forget seeing my handsome prince come charging through the woods at full speed to rescue me. Every time I think about it, I get chills. That man was sprinting back through the forest to help me when he thought I was in danger. He did not just send one of the girls back, he did not just call my cell phone to check – he dropped everything and ran back towards me.
This is a perfect picture of the way God comes to the rescue when we call to Him. The human condition is dire - our sin separates us from God, and there is nothing that we can do to rid ourselves of it. There is no self-help trick or medication that will remove our sinful natures. No amount of strong will or determination can change our hearts. Only Jesus, who paid the penalty of our sin with His own life, made a way for us to be free from our bondage and to be with God forever.
When we are lost in our own sin and selfishness, He is there at the ready when we cry out to Him for help. When we are sinking in mud and muck of our own poor choices, He is there to wash us white as snow - all we have to do is cry out to Him. There is nowhere too far for Him, and not one of us is beyond His saving reach. "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."
Many of us also have people in our lives who are lost and hurting, living without God. Some of them have never known Him, and others have willfully walked away from Him. Share the love of God with them as often as you can, and realize that Jesus loves them, no matter how far away they are. Know that God waits eagerly and expectantly, watching for them to turn to Him. Pray for them frequently and in faith, remembering this picture of God as a mighty warrior who saves, and Who is always ready to come running to the rescue. As the great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, "Think not of the sinner or the greatness of his sin, but think of the greatness of the Savior!"
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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