My Name Was On a List

I will always remember, as clear as if it happened this morning, the euphoric feeling I had when, while still trapped in the darkness of the collapsed Hotel Montana, I knew that a rescue team knew where I was and had put my name on a list:

  • a list of people whose location and conditions were known
  • a list of people who would soon be rescued
  • a list of people who would not be left behind or forgotten

That sense of security I felt was ravaged many hours later when I realized that somehow I hadbeen forgotten, or the list was lost, or my name was not passed on to the next set of rescuers (you can read this account in Unshaken, if you haven’t already).

I so desired that someone from the outside world, that rescuers, would know where I was. I was soo concerned that, in my desperation, I forgot I was on the most important list of all. I was on God’s list.

God knew where I was. God knew I was injured. God knew how to get me out. God knew if this was my day to die or not.

If I had thought about it more, I would have remembered that God did not leave Jonah in the belly of the whale any longer than he had planned. He did not forget that Lazarus was in the grave. He joined Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace.

But those were biblical heroes, and I was just, well, me. Yet I had also experienced God’s presence as well, proof that I was not forgotten by God. When I “made my bed in the depths,” God was with me, comforting and sustaining me (Psalm 139).

Jesus told his disciples not to rejoice that the spirits were subject to them, but that their names were written in heaven. And David reminds us that all of the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came to pass.

So many times, when we are struggling with impossible circumstances, we wish that someone, somewhere knew what was really going on and was ready to intervene on our behalf. And we might even wonder if God is asleep at the wheel.

It seems my concern was not any original or rare sentiment, but rather one of the more common complaints against God. In Isaiah 40, God addresses this directly:

Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
My cause is disregarded by my God”

And his answer to these questions on our part (my rough paraphrase)? I am God everlasting. I don’t get tired or fall asleep at the wheel. You cannot fathom the breadth of what I know or the depth of my wisdom. But I strengthen the weary. Hope in me and I will renew your strength – you will soar like eagles and run without getting tired.

So that list that my name was on that was lost or passed to the wrong person, or lost in translation? It didn’t really matter, and that’s a lesson I try to remember every day.

My name is on God’s list, and he is on the case, strengthening me when I need strengthening, helping me fly when soaring is the only way out.