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A Different Kind of Rescue

transformation-butterfly It’s a mistake believers often make. We want to be rescued from our circumstances instead of sin in our lives.

I made it.  We kept thinking that God’s rescue would mean that Steve would be healed on earth and restored to his family.

I realize now that we truly have experienced a rescue, but it was a different kind of rescue.

At the close of The Lord of The Rings, after a long journey filled with suffering, Sam realizes they are still going

to die. This is not the kind of rescue he imagined:

“But even as hope died in Sam, or seemed to die, it was turned to a new strength. Sam’s plain hobbit face grew stern, almost grim

as the will hardened in him, and he felt throughout all his limbs a thrill, as if he were turning into some creature of stone and

steal that neither despair nor weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue.”

Transformation.  Suffering can help us let go of our idols and cling to God, and in so doing, we become creatures of beauty —

we become like Christ.

As we review our journey over the next several posts, I want to begin with these questions:

1. We are always looking for a rescue from circumstances. Read Luke 24:13-35.

A. What kind of rescue were the two on the road to Emmaus expecting?

B. What humor do you see in this passage?

C. How was this a real rescue, even though it was different than they expected?

2. Think about a time of suffering in your life.

A. Did you at first hope for a rescue from your circumstances? Can you identify

with the feelings of the two downcast disciples in the above account? What do you

remember feeling?

B. As you look back now, how did that suffering work in your life to produce transformation?

3. Read Romans 8:28-29. What promise is given — and what will a real rescue look like?

4. If suffering produces character, why do we so long to avoid it?

5. Has your attitude toward suffering changed? Explain.

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22 comments

  1. When I saw the questions Dee has put on here for our study this week, I just had to share this verse from “How Firm a Foundation.” I heard this old hymn on the way to church yesterday, and then we sang it in church! I realized God was wanting to speak to me through this song. I came home, and looked it up in my hymnal. Verse 4 fits so well with our study this week:

    When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
    My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
    The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
    Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

    The last 2 lines really gets to me. Just wanted to share.

    1. What a wonderful picture in those lines!

    2. They are so appropriate for what we are learning now. He knows what He is doing, do we not find that so?

  2. 1.We are always looking for a rescue from circumstances. Read Luke 24:13-35.

    A. What kind of rescue were the two on the road to Emmaus expecting?

    They were expecting rescue in the physical realm, not the spiritual.

    B. What humor do you see in this passage?

    What they were looking for was right in front of them but they didn’t see it!

    C. How was this a real rescue, even though it was different than they expected?

    Spiritual rescue from Christ is infinitely more important than rescue in the tangible world.

    2. Think about a time of suffering in your life.

    A. Did you at first hope for a rescue from your circumstances? Can you identify with the feelings of the two downcast disciples in the above account? What do you remember feeling?

    When I first had to leave college due to physical illness I prayed for the circumstances creating the illness to be taken away from me so I could return quickly. I felt very downcast, full of despair because the plans I had for myself were not working out. I felt completely hopeless as the circumstances continued and thought I had no kind of future at all. Because a person was causing my problem by making me sick, I also felt totally betrayed.

    B. As you look back now, how did that suffering work in your life to produce transformation?

    I see that God is with me in all circumstances, no matter what is going on. I had been a Christian for years before this suffering, but sense His presence in a special way since then. Even though so many things have changed I still trust God to do what He wants with my life even though I cannot picture what it might be some of the time.

    3. Read Romans 8:28-29. What promise is given — and what will a real rescue look like?

    Romans 8:28-29 (New International Version)
    More Than Conquerors
    28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

    A real rescue means being conformed to Christ’s likeness, having the purpose of God worked out in my life.

    4. If suffering produces character, why do we so long to avoid it?

    It’s our human nature to resist that which hurts.

    5. Has your attitude toward suffering changed? Explain.

    I see that God is with me so I know I can handle suffering with Him by my side, always interceding for me. I still resist it because of human nature, but I try to will my mind to see God’s Hand in all things. I need further help from God in this area, but I am slowly realizing that all is meant for my growth and productivity as a child of His.

    1. What beautiful sharing, Tracy!

  3. God’s timing is amazing!
    I am a thrid grade teacher and teaching a unit where we hatch chicks. TODAY is hatching day! Yahoo, another amazing example of what we speak. The students watch the chicks struggle for hours to break out of that egg but we are instructed to step back because that struggle is what makes the chick strong enough to face the cold cruel world. If you try to make it easier for them, they will most surely die. I will use the analogy and scripture with my students to give them courage to face the struggles that will come, especially during their rougher middle school years.
    I also lead a small group of single women, wounded women, wondering why God doesn’t “rescue” them from their present circumstances. Be assured that your article will be forwarded to my group and be discussed at our group next week!
    I personally never thought I’d be divorced and alone at this point in my life but because I struggled, agonized, clung to God, my life is sweeter and more fulfilling than I think it ever could have been on my former life path. I am learning to stop worrying, WAIT for his timing, and be excited with expectation of what God is going to do or provide next!

  4. 1A. They may have been expecting that at the last minute, Jesus would be rescued from death — or at least resurrected with a more victorious looking “show” (what one would expect from a King).

    1B. I’m amused that Jesus went for a 7 mile walk with the men, even unpacking Scripture for them; then they “got it” when Jesus gave thanks for a meal (they may have had the Lord’s Supper burned into their minds–at least this reminded me of the Lord’s supper 🙂 ). The part that amuses me most: During their walk they told the “stranger” about the hysterical women:

    v. 5a In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them. . .
    v. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
    v. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us.

    1C. This was more real than any other rescue because of Christ’s ultimate victory over sin and death.

  5. 1A. What kind of rescue were the two on the road to Emmaus expecting? I think they were hoping that Jesus would rise from the dead. In verse 21 they lament that it has been 3 days since He died.
    B. What humor do you see in this passage? They were hoping that He would be raised as he had raised others and He was right there with them, raised from the dead.
    C. How was this a real rescue, even though it was different than they expected? They thought that they had been wrong about Jesus being the Messiah because he was still dead after 3 days. BUT HE WAS THE MESSIAH, and that must have been a wonderful revelation for them.
    2A. Did you at first hope for a rescue from your circumstances? There was a good chance that the tumor I had would not grow and that I would not have to have surgery. Of course that is what I prayed for but it did not happen and I had surgery. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and while the Lord spoke to me in my recovery, I did not feel the joy of His presence as I did before. I still don’t. Can you identify with the feelings of the two downcast disciples in the above account? I can identify with their feelings because, even though in my mind I know who Jesus is, my heart tends to feel that maybe Jesus wasn’t as strong as I thought He was or maybe He didn’t love me as much as I thought He did or how about the good old “How could He love me? What was I thinking?” In verse 25 Jesus rebukes them for just this. They did not believe in their hearts all that the prophets had spoken. What do you remember feeling? Fear. If Jesus were not who I think He is, I would have reason to fear.
    B. As you look back now, how did that suffering work in your life to produce transformation? I am not sure yet but I think I may be learning to walk by faith and not by sight. When I feel these things I must set my gaze on Jesus.

  6. 3. Read Romans 8:28-29. What promise is given — and what will a real rescue look like? When we are conformed to the image of Christ and follow Him in resurrection along with many others, that will be the rescue we need.
    4. If suffering produces character, why do we so long to avoid it? Because we are afraid. We forget the 2nd half of the verses Marlys quoted from How Firm a Foundation. When we feel pain we can endure if we can trust that we are not out there alone and that there is a good reason for it.
    5. Has your attitude toward suffering changed? Explain. I see that suffering has a purpose and that purpose is a good thing for me. I want to be conformed to His image. I want to also be resurrected along with many others (I think of all the lives Steve touched in his illness and death). I see that suffering is really my rescue. While it hurts Jesus for me to suffer, He is right there with me as He was on the road to Emmaus.

  7. Good morning to all! I have enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughtful postings so far.

    Dee, a song that came immediately to my mind is a song by Steve Green entitled “I Can See”. It is about the Emmaus road experience and it is beautiful and thrilling to listen to! I searched on YouTube for him singing it, but couldn’t find Steve Green himself singing it but I found another man, Dennis Etheridge, I believe was his name, singing it and he does a good job. The lyrics are just heart-stirring!

    1. We are always looking for a rescue from circumstances. Read Luke 24:13-35.
    A. What kind of rescue were the two on the road to Emmaus expecting?

    Verse 21 “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.”

    These two men were let down and disappointed because their idea of Jesus redeeming Israel was that He was going to change their circumstances, as in getting rid of the Romans who ruled over them. He did redeem Israel, but His was a redemption from their sin.

    I read an online commentary on this passage by Matthew Henry, and some good points brought out were that Jesus ordered it that they did not know Him that they might more freely discourse with Him. Christ’s disciples are often sad and sorrowful even when they have reason to rejoice, but through weakness of faith, they cannot take the comfort offered to them.”

    Their mention of “this being the third day” is an expression of their doubting that He had even risen at all.

    B. What humor do you see in this passage?

    In verse 18, Cleopas says to Jesus, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” And Jesus replies, “What things?”
    Then they proceed to tell Jesus what happened to Him!
    In verse 28, Jesus “acted as though He would go farther” (as they got to Emmaus)
    It’s also humorous that Jesus waited until they walked seven miles to Emmaus before revealing Himself, then they had to walk all the way back. I imagine their conversation on the way back was very different than on the way there!

    C. How was this a real rescue, even though it was different than they expected?

    Jesus said to them in verse 26, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
    And then He explained to them, starting with Moses, how the Scriptures all pointed to a Messiah who would suffer. It was a real rescue because what they and evey person who has ever lived needs to be rescued from is sin, and the curse of death and the futility of trying to keep the Law, which was a taskmaster that we just cannot keep!

  8. I just went back to YouTube. The man’s name is Dennis Standridge who sings the song “I Can See” by Steve Green. Also, there is a trailer you can watch for a movie called Road to Emmaus.

    This posting and the song just speak so strongly to me because I find that when I am in the midst of my suffering I often “cannot see” Who it is that walks beside me. I feel all alone in my grief or fear.
    By the end of the song, he is singing “I CAN see”.
    Kind of like your sharing, Dee, about the fretful baby and how the Lord spoke to you, saying, “I’m right here”.

  9. 1A. What kind of rescue were the two on the road to Emmaus expecting?
    They were expecting the Messiah to rescue Israel from the oppression of their enemies.

    1B. What humor do you see in this passage?
    They say to “the man” walking with them that he must be the only one who hasn’t heard what happened in the last couple days. Little did they know that Jesus was the man, and he knew better than anyone!

    1C. How was this a real rescue, even though it was different than they expected?
    They (we) were rescued from the oppression of Satan, which lasts for eternity. The rescue they were seeking would only last for a lifetime.

  10. Question 1b: I love this passage because it shows Christ’s sense of humor. For me, it shows his human side.
    Question 2b: Many years ago God intervened and took a potential husband out of my life. I am so thankful God knew better and spared me the heartache of marrying someone that wasn’t a solid christian. Because I learned this early in life it has been easier to trust God when He overrides me and has a different plan.

  11. Thanks for this blog, Dee, and thanks, everybody, for your comments. It’s all been comforting reading as I shiver in front of my computer screen suffering with the stomach flu. 🙁
    Why do we avoid suffering? Because it hurts! BUT, C.S. Lewis said, “God speaks to us in our pleasures and shouts to us in our pain. ” I think He’s shouting words of comfort, though. Words like, “I LOVE YOU!”

    I think it’s interesting that they were hiking and talking for 7 miles for two reasons. One, because that number, 7, shows up a lot in Scripture. And also because 7 miles is a looonnnggg hike! So, those guys had a long time to pour out their complaints and hear Jesus’ explanations/comfort from Scripture.

    Reminds me to go on my own “long hikes”, every now and again, with the Lord; taking the time to pour out my own complaints and listen to his explanations and comforts from Scripture.

    I’ve heard that in the British Isles they call long hikes “going a-wandering”. I’ve wandered a lot in my life. How much better, I’ve found, to go a-wandering WITH the Lord.

    “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    Prone to leave the One I love.;
    Here’s my heart,
    O take and seal it,
    Seal it for Thy courts above” (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

    Gloris

    p.s. I come here to this blog to get filled and encouraged, and that’s what happens every time. 🙂 Thanks everybody!

  12. We live in the flesh and so when we experience pain, however that looks like, we want to be healed and taked out of it w/out suffering. Sometimes God does not do that on this earth b/c he has bigger plans and purposes. Please pray for my friend Sat. who is a widow and will be speaking to a church ladies brunch with the theme being, Joy Comes in the Morning. She lost her husband unexpectantly 7 yrs ago when she found that he had passed away on their couch. He was our assoc. pastor and the pillar of our church. He was 55 I think and my spiritual mentor. She has said Yes Lord, yet I will trust you in this journey I don’t understand and she has done that.

    She still struggles though with finding her purpose in her life now – she was the pastor’s wife and supported him in his ministry and was the wife and mother she always wanted to be. Now she is trying to figure out what God’s desires are for her life b/c he has already given her her desires, that of a wife and mother. Her children are grown and now she prays that God will give her purpose and a hope and a future that his word promises. I know she could use your prayers as she prepares to share her story on Sat. She is nervous and wants to feel God’s peace and presence. I told her this is her opportunity to show the Lord that she is being obedient to tell others the hope she has in Him and that she is trusting his heart even when she can’t see his hand. We pray for peace these next few days, great rest as she sleeps and that she will wake up Sat. with an excitement to share her story despite having to relive hard times. This isn’t for us, but for the Lord and that she will sense his great hand and presence in all this. Thanks! She is reading Dee’s book too by the way.

    1. Father, I thank you for Lisa and for her friend who is preparing to speak. I thank you for her willingness to help others from her suffering. I ask you to go before her and prepare hearts to hear. I ask for peace that passes understanding and good night’s rest. We know you bless us when we walk in obedience. I thank you in advance that your purpose and plans for this woman will be made known to her.

  13. 1. Read Luke 24:13-35

    A. What kind of rescue were the two on the road to Emmaus expecting?
    Cleopas and his traveling companion were looking for Jesus to rescue the Jewish nation from the tyranny of the Roman Empire. They were looking for a physical rescue from their present circumstance.

    B. What humor do you see in this passage?
    First of all, I think it’s kinda funny the two were questioned by a total stranger (or so they thought) about their private conversation and it didn’t click with them to be wary of his intent. I wonder if Cleopas and his companion gave Jesus a ‘you’ve got to be kidding’ look when he asked them what events had taken place. The second source of humor has got to be when Cleopas expounds on Jesus’ merits and Jesus chides them for their unbelief. It hit me today that these two disciples had surely followed Jesus to many places with the chosen twelve and the women. They had heard truth and still did not believe Jesus had risen from the dead. Even after Jesus shows them in the scriptures everything said about him they still don’t have a clue they are talking to Jesus. Not until he broke bread did they finally recognize him. Do you think Jesus was a little disappointed that they didn’t believe even after hearing of his resurrection?

    C. How was this a real rescue, even though it was different than they expected?
    The rescue was spiritual. They spoke of hope-of being redeemed. Jesus’ death on the cross, the burial, and the resurrection, rescued them, and us, from mankind’s absolute worst enemy-SIN.

    2. Think about a time of suffering in your life.
    I’m going back to December 1997. My beloved pastor died and I was a sheep without a shepherd.

    A. Did you at first hope for a rescue from your circumstances?
    I don’t believe I thought of rescue. What I wanted was a pastor who preached God’s Word like my late pastor. Looking back I suppose that was a thought of rescue.

    Can you identify with the feelings of the two downcast disciples in the above account? Most definitely.
    What do you remember feeling? I remember feeling a stab of pain everytime I opened my Bible and saw my late pastor’s initals marked beside the passage of scripture he had preached. I always noted the date and the service (am or pm). It was many months before that stab of pain stopped. I am so grateful I have many sermon notes from that time period. It’s been twelve and a half years since he stepped into eternity and I have not forgotten the sound of his voice.

    B. As you look back now, how did that suffering work in your life to produce transformation?
    Looking back, I see that particular time of suffering produced in me the courage to move forward on my spiritual journey without someone ‘holding my hand’. I learned to listen to God’s leading for myself and I stepped into my future not knowing what God had in store for me. Three years after the death of my pastor, I moved my church membership to the church I currently attend. I learned you have to ‘go so you can grow’.

    3. Read Romans 8:28-29. What promise is given-and what will a real rescue look like?

    The promise given is that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. I have heard the word good defined here as being what is beneficial for the body of Christ.
    A real rescue is the circumstance in my life God uses to conform me to the image of Christ Jesus.

    4. If suffering produces character, why do we so long to avoid it?

    I believe it’s the western way of thinking that keeps us from embracing suffering. It’s as if the attitude is “I’m an American, I’m not suppose to suffer”. We long to avoid pain because it proves we are indeed weak and not as strong as we like to portray ourselves to be.

    5. Has your attitude toward suffering changed? Yes. Explain.

    It’s been almost three years since my season of intense suffering began and now that the pain has faded, I can honestly say it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I see my suffering as a cleansing agent. It has brought to the surface the real me that isn’t pretty. All the natural tendencies are being corralled and put out to pasture. That’s the only way I can think to describe it.
    My suffering drove me to believe and trust God as I have never done before. Of course I don’t enjoy suffering. I didn’t wake up one day and say “Okay God bring on the suffering”. I have learned if I truly want to be made into the image of Christ I must endure suffering. But here’s the good news: I AM NOT ALONE WITH MY SUFFERING. Knowing that God is with me gives me strength to face each new day.
    Suffering has produced such change in me that I have less tolerance for pettiness-in myself and others. I find I have more compassion and sympathy for others.
    Steve Green was on ChrisFabryLive today. He has just released a new cd. He shared that this new recording was birthed after a season of suffering. He made the comment “God knows which buttons to push in each one of us”. Our suffering is tailor made to fit us. I don’t remember where I heard or read the statement God gave me my suffering because He knew He could trust me with it. He knew I could endure my suffering because of Christ in me.
    Suffering will always be a hard road to walk but I know I am not walking it alone. The body of Christ is encouraging me to keep moving forward. The ones who encourage me are the ones who have walked the road of suffering before me.
    I’m no longer afraid to face suffering. I know it will most likely return in a different form. How I thank God for this study! I’m almost to the end of a very special season in my life.

  14. I really enjoyed reading all the testimonies of how God has moved people through their own times of suffering into a place that they were able to see the blessing on the other side of it.

    I have been suffering in my own heart wrenching battle for the last few months, that I won’t share here. I wasn’t even able to get through the study this time because it hit so directly where I am that I could not quite formulate full thoughts for any of the questions.

    I only felt a deeper compassion for how long the journey must have felt, how it feels to honestly just be completely disappointed in the outcome, and wonder what happened and how to move past that moment of shocking pain as one is gripped with the reality that what we counted on was not exactly Jesus…. but our own idea of what Jesus would do. I realize there are usually answers in time if we keep watching for them, and I loved getting this reminder this week.

    I just wanted to say that it has brought me some much needed refreshing to read these things written here. It felt really nice to be reminded that no matter what Jesus is right there in the depth of the struggles, even when it becomes painfully difficult to recognize His touch in our circumstances.

    Thank you for sharing your hearts, because they touched mine.

  15. Thanks to Susan for the posting below, I just viewed it for the first time.
    It reminds me that it is not always the messanger, but the message.
    It thrills my heart more than I can say that someone might listen and be touched by the song, “I CAN SEE”. My daughter posted this some time ago on You Tube.

    It is the desire of my heart that I could fellowship with Jesus more closely, feel Him in my heart more deeply and see Him in my life more clearly. Also that others would know Him as I do.

    God Bless,
    Dennis

    Susan says:
    April 28, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I just went back to YouTube. The man’s name is Dennis Standridge who sings the song “I Can See” by Steve Green. Also, there is a trailer you can watch for a movie called Road to Emmaus.

    This posting and the song just speak so strongly to me because I find that when I am in the midst of my suffering I often “cannot see” Who it is that walks beside me. I feel all alone in my grief or fear.
    By the end of the song, he is singing “I CAN see”.
    Kind of like your sharing, Dee, about the fretful baby and how the Lord spoke to you, saying, “I’m right here”.
    Repl