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Encouragement for Today - Oct. 11, 2007

October 11, 2007


When Self-Rescue is Not an Option

By Glynnis Whitwer


The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
      I will protect those who trust in my name.
Psalm 91:14 (NLT)



All climbers preparing to brave the extremes of Mount McKinley/Denali in Alaska must first check in at the Talkeetna Ranger Station. Here, mountaineering rangers give last-minute preparation and safety talks before hikers are flown to Base Camp at 7,200 feet.


Although we would only view the stunning mountain from afar, this summer my family got to hear a portion of what the climbers hear before beginning their ascent. The kids loved the part about packing out your own “waste.” But the most striking part to me was the necessity of being prepared to “self-rescue.”


In other words, if you fall into a crevasse, have a plan to get your self out! Because rescues can cost up to $30,000 and put the rescuers at great personal risk, it was easy to understand this advice. I nodded my head in agreement. I’ve always felt people should be prepared to rescue themselves from trouble.


Less than a month after that Alaskan trip, I went to Ecuador with Proverbs 31 and Compassion International. More than traveling from the northern to the southern hemisphere, God took me on a trip to transform my thinking.


As I stood at the top of a garbage-strewn street in Quito (a far cry from Denali National Park), I looked over structures built with broken bricks and tin and on past to a city of 13 million mostly poor inhabitants, God smashed my “self-rescue” mentality.


Here before me were people who had no way to rescue themselves. Their poverty, and all that goes with it, had eliminated their ability to change their circumstances. Their only hope was brought to them by other people. Into this desperate situation walked humble servants of Jesus … wiping runny noses, feeding hungry children, training moms to care for babies, tutoring students and teaching about the saving love of Jesus.


God used that trip to Ecuador to show me His heart for the poor, and something more. God showed me that I’m not so different from the beautiful Ecuadorians I met. As much as I like to be independent and rescue myself, I can’t. Not only that, but God never meant for me to.


God created me with a deep need for Him. Every step towards greater self-sufficiency takes me further from God’s help. I fight this dependency on God at times, falsely believing I must “self rescue.” And yet when I do ask for God’s help with any worries or concerns, I wonder why I stubbornly waited so long.


There are many things I can’t do on my own. To name just a few, I can’t love those who have hurt me or forgive great offenses without God’s help. And I will never be “good enough” to enter God’s presence in heaven without the ultimate price that was paid by Jesus’ death on the cross.


There’s a freedom in admitting I need rescuing, and in gaining a greater compassion for others. I’m so glad we serve a God who delights in reaching down from heaven to give His beloved children a helping hand.


Heavenly Father, I praise You and thank You for being powerful enough to rescue me. Thank You for loving me so much that You sent Jesus to pay the debt for my sin, a debt I couldn’t pay. Help me not be so self-reliant that I neglect to ask for Your help. Fill me with love and compassion for those who need my help as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?


Who Holds the Key to Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst


Sponsor a child through Compassion International


Application Steps: 

Identify one problem in your life right now. Write out a prayer on a 3”x5” card asking God for His help with that problem. Post the card where you’ll see it every day, continue to pray, and watch for God’s answer.



What keeps you from asking for help? (either from other people or from God)


Read Psalm 91. What are some of the ways God rescues us, according to this passage?


What is our part in the rescue?


Power Verses:

Galatians 1:3-5,  “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (NIV)


Psalm 30: 1-2, “I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” (NIV)

Psalm 18:19, “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” (NIV)






Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105


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