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(Note: The following message is a companion article to a message which aired on Autism One Radio. To hear the broadcast at any time, please go to:
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and click on the arrow above “Listen to Jack and Rebecca Sytsema.”)

RESCUED!

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The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.
(2 Peter 2:9, NIV)

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, while we were still living in Colorado Springs, we opened the newspaper one morning to read the large headline of the front page read, “Rescued!” We could not hold back the tears as we read the story of 5-year-old Ryan, a young boy with autism, who had been lost for more than 24 hours in the rugged and densely forested mountains about 30 miles from where we lived. After a difficult and treacherous search, Ryan was found shortly before sunset of the night that otherwise would probably have been his last.

Besides the obvious joy any parent would feel at hearing of a young child rescued from harm’s way, this story was very personal to us because Ryan’s family was a part of our local “autism community,” having two sons with autism. His mother had always been particularly watchful, so when news of Ryan’s disappearance came late that Thursday night, we could scarcely believe it. By Friday morning Jack joined with hundreds of other volunteers from our autism community and the around the area to search a remote part of the Colorado Rocky Mountains for the young boy who had already spent one night in 26 degree weather and freezing rain with no coat. Thousands across this country, and even as far away as Australia and Israel, joined in prayer for Ryan. Our theme verse was “I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak,” (Ezekiel 34:15-16, NIV).

Ryan’s shoes and socks had been found by a creek bed, but no other sign was anywhere to be seen. With only two hours of daylight left, rescuers, having searched in every other direction from where the shoes were discovered, climbed up a steep cliff. There, laying in a fetal position next to a tree, they found little Ryan, who, with the exception of sunburn and mild dehydration, was perfectly safe. As the rescuers gathered him up, an obviously relieved Ryan, whose verbal skills were limited, kept saying “no shoes, no shoes” and “cold, cold.” The Colorado Springs Gazette summed it up by saying, “Shouts could be heard around the forest. What was shaping up to be a tragedy suddenly had a happy ending.” Almost everyone involved called it a miracle of God, and indeed it was.

As we pondered Ryan’s amazing story, we began to think of how the Lord rescues us and our children each day. Although most of us may not have as dramatic a story, God does see the dangers we encounter and has rescued us on many occasions. What are some of the things the Lord rescues us from? Using the story of Ryan’s remarkable rescue as an illustration, here are seven ways God rescues His children:

1. CLOUDS AND DARKNESS.

“As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness” (Ezek 34:12, NIV). We all have dark seasons in our lives when we, like little Ryan, may feel exposed, uncovered, cold, and alone. Yet, God has promised that we are never truly alone, and that He has given His angels charge over us. If you are in a season of clouds and darkness, God has promised that if you will look to Him, He will bring you into the daylight and rescue you from your despair.

2. CALAMITIES.

“From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you” (Job 5:19-21, NIV). A calamity is defined as a great misfortune or disaster; a catastrophe, grievous affliction, or misery. Even though many of us have experienced times of calamity in our lives, God has promised that He has both the power and the desire to rescue us from calamity, but we must seek Him. While we do believe God can move and change any situation at any time, the Bible says that God has chosen to let us have dominion in the earth. In other words, God does not move in on our situations until we invite Him to do so. That is the value of prayer. We shutter to think what little Ryan’s outcome would have been if it had not been for the thousands who asked God to save Ryan from calamity.

3. THE MOUTH OF LIONS.

“Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen” (Psalm 22:21, NIV). As the rescuers were searching for Ryan, they found several tracks of mountain lions. Whether or not the tracks were fresh, it was clear that the area where he was lost was the domain of one or more lions, to whom a 5-year-old boy would have been an effortless meal. In our lives, it is all too easy to wander into the “domain of lions,” which is out from under the safety of the Lord. We may wander into these places through sin in our lives, disobedience to God’s direction, or through ignorance. Here is where it is important to know the Lord as our Shepherd, who leads and guides us and keeps us in places of safety away from the mouth of lions. If, however, you have strayed away from the Lord and His safety, the good news is that He has promised to rescue you from those things that would seek to consume you.

4. LOSING OUR FOOTING.

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 'Because he loves me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name' ” (Psalm 91:11,12,14). The Colorado Rocky Mountains are so named for good reason. They are full of steep cliffs and craggy rocks, on which even the most seasoned and well-equipped repellers can lose their footing. It was in these mountains that young Ryan took off the protection of his shoes and socks and proceeded to climb cliffs and rocks barefooted. God must surely have commanded his angels to guard Ryan’s footing so that he did not slip and fall to great injury or death. What’s also amazing is that when he was found, his feet were in perfect condition, without cuts or scrapes, despite walking barefoot in rough terrain; and without frostbite, despite the freezing temperatures. God will do the same for us, to rescue and protect us, but here in this verse we see that, if we are to avail ourselves of His protection and keep our footing sure, we need to acknowledge His name.


5. OPPRESSION AND VIOLENCE.

“He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight”
(Psalm 72:14, NIV). With every hour that passed, Ryan’s rescuers grew more anxious and determined to find the helpless boy. They knew that the chances of a violent ending was growing greater and greater. Ryan’s risks were real. The mountains held no mercy for a young and unprotected boy. When we find ourselves in times of peril, the violence and oppression that surrounds us may seem as though they can overtake us. Our risks are just as real as Ryan’s. But the Lord has said that our blood in precious in His sight, and that He has the power to rescue us in times of great danger. If we call to Him, we will see His hand move to rescue us from whatever oppression and violence we may have fallen into.

6. EVIL ATTACKS.

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). In our heart of hearts we do not believe that the Lord allowed Ryan to wander off and be put in a dangerous situation. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is clear that we have an enemy who is out to seek our destruction. We, therefore, believe that Satan and his evil cohorts saw an opportunity to attack this precious child, and took it. We believe that Satan seeks his opportunities in each of our lives to thwart the destiny that God has for us, and he takes every opportunity he can find. But, praise God that when we cry out to Him when we are under attack, that He has promised both to rescue us from those attacks and to bring us safely to His heavenly kingdom!

7. DEATH.

“He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men (Ps 107:20-21, NIV). It is obvious that God rescued Ryan from death, for which we give Him much praise. In our lives, God has given us provision to rescue us from death, hell, and the grave, through the blood of His son, Jesus. Colossians 1:13 says, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” In this way, our rescue is just as dramatic as Ryan’s. Quoting what is perhaps one of the best known verses in the Bible, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. This is God’s greatest act of rescue in our lives. If we will believe on Him, the Bible says that we will be rescued eternally. If you have never come to this place in your life, or are wondering if you are truly saved, here are four basic keys to knowing God:

A. God loves you and wants the very best for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

B. The only thing that keeps you from experiencing God's love is your sin. (Sin is “going your own way” and falling short of God's will for your life.) Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God. Your sins have hidden His face from you.”

C. The key to knowing God Is to receive Jesus and the forgiveness He offers. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). Jesus paid the penalty for your sin when He shed His blood on the cross. He died and rose again so that He could bring you into a relationship with God.

D. Receiving Jesus Involves turning from your sin and receiving the forgiveness Jesus provides. When you do that, God sends His Spirit to dwell in your heart and make you a new person. John 1:12 says, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.”

You receive Jesus through faith. Faith can be expressed in a simple prayer like this:
“Lord Jesus, I need You. I now turn from my sins and receive Your forgiveness. Please send Your Spirit to live within me so I can know You and be all that You want me to be. I thank You now, by faith, that You have forgiven all my sins and brought me into a relationship with You!”* If you prayed this prayer, or would like to know more about how God rescues us from death, please contact us at prayer@childrenofdestiny.org.

There is one other quick note to make concerning God’s rescue in our lives. What if everyone had prayed, but no one had searched for Ryan? More than likely, Ryan would still have died. God provides us with our plan for rescue, but it is usually up to us to implement His instructions. It takes both prayer and action for rescue to take place. Commit your way to God and move forward in His leading, and you will be rescued!

With blessings,
Jack and Rebecca Sytsema

*Keys to Knowing God and prayer for salvation are borrowed from our parent ministry, Glory of Zion.

©2008, Children of Destiny. All rights reserved.

To receive each new topic via email as it becomes available, please send an email to us at prayer@childrenofdestiny.org. To view the Scripture Guide, please scroll down.

 

RESCUED!
SCRIPTURE GUIDE

From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you. In famine he will ransom you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes.
(Job 5:19-21, NIV)

"He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."
(Psalm 22:8, NIV)

Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
(Psalm 22:21, NIV)

Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
(Psalm 25:20, NIV)


Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
(Psalm 31:2-3, NIV)

My whole being will exclaim, "Who is like you, O LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them."
(Psalm 35:10, NIV)

O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions.
(Psalm 35:17, NIV)

Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes.
(Psalm 69:18, NIV)

2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me.
(Psalm 71:2, NIV)

He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
(Psalm 72:14, NIV)


Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
(Psalm 82:4, NIV)

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
(Psalm 91:14-16, NIV)

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.
(Isaiah 46:4, NIV)

They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.
(Jeremiah 1:19, NIV)

As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
(Ezekiel 34:12, NIV)

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(2 Timothy 4:18, NIV)

if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
(2 Peter 2:9, NIV)

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
(Psalm 107:20-21, NIV)

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
(Colossians 1:13, NIV)

Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will 'pass over' it and will rescue it."
(Isaiah 31:5,NIV)


4 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.
(Isaiah 46:4, NIV)


They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.
(Jeremiah 1:19, NIV)

As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
(Ezekiel 34:12, NIV)

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(2 Timothy 4:18, NIV)

the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.
(2 Peter 2:9, NIV)

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
(Psalm 107:20-21, NIV)

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
(Colossians 1:13, NIV)


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