He brought me out into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
Either my wife is really good at rescuing animals, or they are really good at finding her. Scarcely a month goes by that Ann doesn’t come home with the latest Story of Rescue: Animal Edition. It’s uncanny. Once she stopped traffic on a busy residential street in Dallas to form a team and corral a dog. Another time she rescued a bird from impending doom. And there was just last week when Ann found a kitten trembling against the curb several streets from our house. As far as Ann could tell, someone dumped this kitten. No one in the area recognized him. His paws were pristine as if he had been inside. There he was, left for dead, and there was Ann, ready to rescue. Little did the kitten know that being found by Ann is like winning the lost animal lottery.
We spent a couple days looking for the kitten’s original owner and pursuing a loving home for him. As outside options fell through, inside our house the situation was changing. Ann was crazy about the kitten, our son Will couldn’t stop saying “Hi, kitty cat!” and I even started to like him. (Our dog wasn’t so sure about the whole thing.) Long story short, we decided to keep the kitten. Milo is ours now, and though animal rescues are not the biggest thing going on in the world today, this story has given me a window into the great story that shapes our lives as Christians.
In Psalm 18, David remembers the perilous place he was in: “The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me” (v. 4). King Saul was out to get David, and his life was hanging in the balance. Sometimes on the run, sometimes confined, David could always sense the danger Saul posed. But the Psalms remind us that David always knew that he could cry out to the Lord, and the Lord would answer. David writes, “He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me” (v. 19). The reality of the Lord’s rescue usually gets the headlines, but I want to focus on the rest of the story. What does it mean to live as one who has been rescued?
When the Lord rescues us, we find ourselves living in a new world, even if our circumstances don’t really change. From a life of running or a life of confinement, the Lord brings us out into a broad place. The walls were caving in on us, but now the air seems fresher and the skies bluer. We experience a new atmosphere, but also a new affection. We are in danger of missing the wonder of our redemption when we focus on the what of the cross without remembering the why. If we ask, “What did Jesus do to rescue us?” we can answer that question. We might even be proud of our answers. But ask, “Why did Jesus do it?” and our words fail. We struggle to get to the bottom of it. Why? “Because He loved me.” Why? “Because He delighted in me.” Why? “Because that’s just the way God is.” Why? “I don’t know, but isn’t it amazing?”
Since we rescued Milo the kitten, I’ve loved watching his response. He has every reason to be terrified—past trauma, strange people, new house, energetic toddler, and suspicious canine—but from the moment Ann brought him home, Milo has been comfortable. He was probably hours away from getting hit by a car or taken by a coyote, but now he is in a whole new atmosphere. He’ll play like a kitten, but then he just wants to curl up on someone’s lap. I’ve seen plenty of cats. I know they can be into themselves, but Milo seems different. He wants to be where we are. He has an affection that just makes me wonder: Does he realize the distance between where he was and where he is now? Does he know he was rescued? He looks out our back door when it’s open, but he has no interest in going out there. Does he remember his old life and have no desire to go back? Maybe I just want to think that. Maybe it helps me justify keeping a kitten. Regardless of what Milo knows, I love the story. Whenever I see him, I remember that he was rescued. We rescued him because we delighted in him and wanted him to be ours.
If you don’t like cats, this story surely sounds crazy and impractical. But remember—this really isn’t about cats. Milo’s story reminds me of the great story. There’s a God who rescues people because He delights in them, because He wants them to be His. How crazy and impractical does that sound? Through the work of Christ, the Father rescues us from a death we deserve and adopts us into a family better than our wildest dreams. “He rescued me.” Is that your story? “He brought me out into a broad place?” Is that your atmosphere? “He delighted in me.” Do you know His affection? And if you do, don’t you want the Lord to use you to bring His rescue to others?