I took my children to the summer discount movies. They were playing “The Dolphin Tale”. I’m not a big crier at movies and yet this one gets me teary eyed each time I’ve seen it mainly because of the raw emotions in the relationships between people as well as the animals. It touches my children on a very deep level as well. At the beginning of the movie, a truck is sent out to assist an injured dolphin and emblazoned on the side are the words: “Rescue, rehab, release.” It struck me today after watching this movie at least half a dozen times. What a motto! Could there be any better metaphor for ministry? I met with a woman today who I am so proud to be in ministry with and I think she would agree, it is exactly what we attempt to do with the people we meet both in our groups, and just in general the people we meet anywhere.
Our first desire is to RESCUE them from themselves or their circumstance, sometimes it’s as simple as letting them know their normal isn’t normal. Sometimes it varies from late night texts to private messaging to meeting up for lunch, maybe a ride to a meeting, just to let them know they are not forgotten or unloved or anything less than beautiful! How powerful it is to speak life into someone just struggling to take the next breath without having a panic attack! How amazing to see a smile on a tortured soul’s face! Just to get through the wall of guarded pain and uneasy discomfort to talk openly about what’s going on in their lives right now and how they are or are not coping with it is huge!
The next desire is to REHAB their worldview into how God sees them. Trying to convince the eyes who have witnessed only pain and rejection about Someone who cares deeply for them and sees their potential, let alone their exquisite beauty through the scars inflicted by themselves and others inside and out is so very hard! We are working against an entire culture of individual entitlement and very little accountability. People are treated as though they are disposable and it makes my heart so very sad to see what happens when any human being believes the negative speech against them and convinces themself they are indeed replaceable and insignificant! Rehab is about giving them back their self worth, improving their self image and not to one of brazen entitlement but, of recognition they are indeed precious and unique. To place that light of Christ inside them and let it burn brightly, teach them how to tend that fire, give them resources to keep it burning for eternity.
The next step is the hardest. The release. I would love to say the first two steps cure all and everyone becomes an incredible witness for Christ’s love and power to end hate and bring equality into every relationship! It just isn’t so, it just isn’t so, it just isn’t so. I can offer a lifeline and do everything I can to be available and it still might not be enough. I tell the people I am in contact with, the relationship will never cease on my end. If they stop communicating with me, it will be a conscious decision on their part. I will continue praying and occasionally check in just because I care. Unfortunately, some will stay lost. Because comfort is a huge temptation. It’s scary to change, it’s scary to stand up instead of lie down, it’s scary to trust when what you know is distrust. But, maybe, just maybe, God used me and planted a seed! Maybe, just maybe, they’ll think twice next time they are tempted to self harm because it offers them control over an out of control life. Someone will water the seed and someone will be there to reap the harvest, of that I am assured in Scripture. If I can delay any more pain, I will gladly let God use me for that purpose!
What’s your normal? Have you been rescued or know someone who needs rescue? Prayer is powerful, never think it’s not working. You have impact, you matter, you count, you are beautiful, you are made in His image! Believe it, accept it, embrace it! You are deeply loved!