Rapid Rescue

by Tim Hall
In times of need, God’s response time is impressive.
Fifty-two miles per hour doesn’t impress many people these days, unless that’s the speed of a large naval vessel.
And that’s what the Associated Press now reports: A new class of warships are posting speeds of about 44-45 knots (52 mph). The best speeds previously have been about 35 knots. Yes, that’s quite an improvement.
Is speed really so important for ships of this size? Faster ships might overtake the pirates we’ve been reading about off the coast of northern Africa.
A swifter Navy would also be able to respond to critical hot spots around the world more promptly. There are many reasons why the Navy is interested in greater speed.
The Army has also been investing in faster vehicles. One example is the Stryker armored combat vehicle. This eight-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle can move a few troops to inaccessible areas at speeds of just over 60 mph.
Speed can make a huge difference in critical situations.
When discussing rapid rescue, however, you can’t top the Lord. Consider the case of Hezekiah, king of Judah. The prophet Isaiah had been dispatched to tell Hezekiah that his illness would be terminal. Make preparations for your death. Upon hearing the news, the king fell into fervent prayer.
Before Isaiah had left the palace courtyard, God sent him back to deliver a more encouraging message. In response to his prayer, God would extend Hezekiah’s life another fifteen years. Anyone would admit that was a rapid rescue. (You can read this incident in 2 Kings 20.)
Daniel also experienced the rapid response of the Lord. As he prayed for his people who were still in exile in Babylon, an angel was sent to him with God’s response.
“O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved …” (Daniel 9:22,23, NKJV).
How can God respond so rapidly? Jesus explained in Matthew 6:8 “… For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask him.”
One disclaimer must be made: Though God has the power to respond at blindingly fast speeds, he sometimes chooses to take longer than we expect.
Jesus’ parable about the persistent widow pointed to this fact. He taught that God hears His people, though sometimes “… he bears long with them” (Luke 18:7).
As we pour out our petitions to the Lord, let us be sure that God knows our needs and has the ability to provide rapid rescue.
Sometimes, though, that rescue may be prolonged. But in his time God “will avenge his own elect who cry out day and night to him, though he bears long with them” (Luke 18:7).

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