I had two kinds of reading material on the farm where I summered: Stephen King and Louis L’Amour. I didn’t feel the need for fictional horror when real life was distressing enough, so I settled on western wars where the good guy always saved the girl by the last page. Every book was the same; the main difference was the color of the horse that carried them towards a tidy sunset and safety.
Despite that literary diet, I’ve never believed in rescue. Not in real life. I’m more a fan of using every tool at my disposal internally and externally to change the likely outcome. That’s why I liked MacGyver so much. Where there is a will, there’s a way. I’m not lacking will, so let’s find the way. If you are fast enough, clever enough, strong enough, you don’t need rescue. (Cue the background music: Simon and Garfunkel – I am a rock. I am an iiiiiiiisland.)
But something has been happening over the last few months. I am seeing the young me with dawning clarity. She wasn’t big, strong, or knowledgeable. She was neither an accomplice to harm nor a seductress. She was a very little girl. Even at 10 or 12, she was still quite small. She needed to be rescued. Whisked away. Cared for. She needed a SWAT team to swoop in and save her day.
But it didn’t come. Ever. Not once did someone deliver her from his hands.
While I don’t remember the exact route, she devised a world more suitable to survival, where rescue would be unnecessary rather than absurd. She decided that she loved him most, desired him most and gave herself willingly. That way she didn’t need rescue. If she chose to give her body, it lessened the anguish of the inevitable taking. Where the impotence was hers rather than everyone else’s. It was easier on her heart to fail by her own weakness than be failed at her most vulnerable. She made herself an accomplice to ward off the cowardice of others that left her at the mercy of his evil.
Rescue didn’t come. For 30-odd years I have believed it was a mythical category. The problem is that I still inadvertently demand that mythical rescue from others. That doesn’t go well for me or them.
How do I embrace a holiday that centers on rescue? How do I grapple with deliverance passing from the womb through the very channel of my violation? And in the writhing form of vulnerable helplessness no less? That is beautifully, ridiculously absurd.
Christmas is a fitting time to break the agreement with evil that rescue doesn’t come. Because rescue did come and is coming again. Daily.
Perhaps repentance is listening when hope whispers that rescue bumped and jostled it’s way into town on a donkey more than once. It is also remembering that rescue will come a final time: the horse is white, the army is huge, swords are drawn and His name is Faithful and True. (Rev. 19) Louis L’Amour didn’t pen that rescue scene.
I want to experience rescue today, this week, this Christmas… In the moments where my need is still high and my faith swings low. When I want to cry and scream for a rescue that didn’t come – that in itself is repentance. Jesus, I still need a Savior. Perhaps desiring rescue is also repentance. If that’s the case, strengthen my cry. Deepen my longing. Let my desire be to be found.
Timari Brower lives in a raucous world of 3 small boys in the wheat country of Eastern Washington. She is passionate about beauty, freedom and play. She loves story in the form of good books and good people, especially if it includes a beach. She is the Co-Founder of Marriage Conversion Seminars, where she and her husband of 15 years weave scripture and story together to address real relational issues. Learn more at www.marriageconversion.com.&n