Theology for the Long Haul

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Travel Plaza Tuesday: Come and Hear About the God Who Saves

-The conclusion to last weeks post "I Don't Want to Sell my Soul for a Prius" will appear in next weeks Travel Plaza Tuesday.-

Years ago, before our children were born, Phil and I went camping in a Michigan State park with some friends. On our last night there, I woke in the middle of the night to the sounds of something in our camp. Whatever the animal was, it rustled around the cleared area, pawed at the ground and knocked over the Tupperware container that stored some pots and cleaning supplies.

Maybe it was the heightened anxiety that night brings, or the fact that I have a propensity towards drama. Earlier in the day we saw a group of park rangers leave the camp station to pursue a black bear spotted around the camp. I think this may have played a factor. Whatever the case, as I lay in my sleeping bag and listened to the heaving breath of the animal just a few feet from our tent, I was terrified. Too frightened to move or even say Phil’s name. Fear filled every pore of my body, and it felt like an ice-cold hand was squeezing my heart.

Without the slightest movement, I began to cry out to God for mercy. My mind was flooded with my own selfishness, need for control, and rebelliousness against Him. His presence flowed over me, and tears began to fall. I saw clearly how often I sinned against the God I loved. As I repented and pleaded with God, it seemed unfathomable that if He did save us and we lived through the night—if the animal did not rip through the thin nylon barrier that separated us like I feared it would—that I would ever go back to behaving that way. I would walk out of the camp changed.

The obvious fact is we did survive. The animal left the camp. Morning came and the sun appeared. We broke down our tents, packed up the jeep, and headed back to Indiana. The memory of that night faded into the past.

During a study of Psalm 66 this week, the Lord brought it back to my mind. In the psalm, the writer says, “Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doings towards the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the river on foot.” He goes on to remind the people of all the Lord had done in their midst. He recounts the works of the Lord and makes the appeal, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul.”

To be honest, I don’t know if the Lord saved me from death that night in the woods. Maybe it was only a raccoon scuffling outside our tent. But I do know He has saved me from death through His son Jesus. And in the same way that I forgot so easily about that Michigan night, the danger is to forget that everything I have received from Christ is a mercy and grace. I begin to live as a person entitled. While I didn’t deserve to walk out of the woods that day alive, I certainly didn’t deserve for Christ to die in my place.

But He did. And now my life should cry out this verse-

“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul.”


  1. in reading this I am reminded of a verse in a song we we're just talking about last nigth at our womens bible study..."our trials are Gods mercies"...

  2. Excellent post. It makes me think of my favorite verse Psalm 13. :)

  3. Stace- not sure if I know that song, what is it?
    Jennee- going to look up psalm 13 tonight and see what it has to say to me.
    Also, I meant to point out in the post that if the movie Elf taught us anything, it's how vicious racoons can be. So whether it was a bear or a racoon, I think it's safe to say this was a near death experience for me.