Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt you were trapped and there was no escape route? Picture this – you and some friends decide to spend a Saturday exploring local caves. In the United States and Canada this recreational activity of exploring caves is called spelunking and in the United Kingdom and Ireland is called potholing. In contrast, the scientific study and exploration of caves is called speleology.
Before entering the cave you put on all your personal protective gear, put fresh batteries in your flashlights, and obtained the most current cave survey (map) to guide you through the tunnels and passages. You are well prepared to go into the caves. After several hours in the caves you are ready to head back to daylight, only to find that you have somehow dropped the map and you are not sure which tunnel to take to safely get you back out of the cave. On top of that, the batteries in your flashlights have run out, so it is extremely dark in that cave. In that moment, fear sets in and you feel trapped inside the cave with no way out. Sometimes in life we have that same fear or panic when we feel threatened (physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, relationally, etc.) or something does not go as planned and we find ourselves feeling scared and trapped.
In a post from last week (see 7/22/2015) we stated that when you are in danger of being washed away by sin, God throws you a lifeline to pull you out of the slimy pit filled with mud. Today we want to look at God as a rescuer in times of trouble. Those moments when you feel trapped in a dark and wet cave with no escape route. Those moments when you find yourself in a difficult situation and the road ahead only looks harder than the road you just traveled on. The Bible tells us that God is faithful and He is always on high alert, ready to throw a lifeline to those who are in danger. We need to be clear and say that sometimes God calms the storm and other times He lets the storm rage and calms the child.
In Psalm 22 King David so beautifully describes how God rescued him from the hand of his enemies. The psalm starts off with praise to God for who He is – “I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies (vv. 1-3).”
The next two verses go on to tell of the extreme danger David faced, and by the language he used, it sounds real and imminent. Maybe you face a real threat today and these words speak of your fear – “The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me (vv. 4-5).” You can tell that David really feared for his life; he was likely scared to death. In our caving scenario, he was really trapped deep inside the dark cave, with no map or flashlight.
Verse 6 tells us that David cried out for help and that God heard his cry – “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”
In verses 7-15 we read that God came to David’s rescue. And in verses 16-19 we read these wonderful words – “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in my day of disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
The rest of this psalm narrates the grounds for God’s help (vv. 20-29), continues with a recounting of God’s rescue (vv. 30-45), and finishes up with a doxology in verses 46-50. With a few minor variations in wording and phrasing, this rescue narrative is also found in 2 Samuel 22.
So, when you find yourself deep inside a dark and wet cave with no place to turn, call out to God, reach for his lifeline, and trust that He is capable of bringing you into a spacious place.