2 Tim 3:11 – …the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
We want and pray for deliverance, healing, comfort, peace, ease, etc. The Lord is gracious and compassionate. He, at times, answers our cry for exactly what we pray. At other times, in the middle of our problems, He gives us something that’s bigger than the release we seek – His presence.
I can’t help but notice what seems to be a weird duality of sorts in some of Paul’s writings. The verse above… the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me. If Paul endured or went through persecutions, did the Lord really rescue him? To me, going through them isn’t really being rescued.
Or another verse in the same letter, 2 Timothy 4:18 – The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack… But the Lord didn’t rescue him from every evil attack. It was an evil attack that later separated Paul from his head.
I looked closer at the verse above - Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them – and I’ve found that rescue isn’t the rescue I understand it to be with the idea of completely taking someone out of a situation. It has more of the idea of drawing to oneself rather than removal. It’s more of pulling someone close than pulling someone out. It’s not dragging a person or thing out of the danger zone, but rather dragging a person or thing close to oneself.
Paul experienced the same things we experience – hard times, difficult struggles, physical pain, emotional anguish – but Paul says emphatically - the Lord rescued me from all of them. God did so through His presence, through His grace that was sufficient, through His strength perfected in weakness.
In my problems, I want deliverance, healing, comfort, peace, ease, etc. But I think more than that, I want God’s presence. I want Him to bring me close. I want Him to pull and drag me to His side, because in His presence, I am delivered, healed, comforted, peaceful – and rescued!
Lord, bring me closer!