When you need rescue and are about to give up, remember that someone is looking for you  – God.

The Day My Great Grandfather Daniel Needed to Be Rescued

The stories of our family histories often reveal to us deeper meanings of life.

I only ever knew one of my great-grandfathers.  Daniel, or “Granddad” as we called him, was a man of his time.  He and great-Grandma Nellie lived simply.  Although they had many rooms in their modest home, they basically lived in one or two rooms during the winter to conserve heat.  There was no running water, nor electricity in their home, and they cooked on and heated their house with a wood stove.   My dad and his younger brother would go over to their grandparent’s farmhouse and carry split wood up to the house and create a pile on the porch so that Granddad just had to step outside to get an armful of wood for the stove.

The water they used everyday had to be pumped from a well. Folks, this was in the early 1960’s.

Granddad still used horses for travel, because Nellie insisted that she would never get in an automobile; It was too dangerous.  They also didn’t believe in going to town unless it was absolutely necessary.

Don’t worry, I’m not here to extol the values of going back to living without modern conveniences.  I’m the guy that wants to be able to close the garage door with an app on my phone.  While I am not opposed to manual labor around the house, what I do want to talk about are the values that made families back then stronger.

Family really meant something all of those sixty years ago when Granddad was still living.  He and great-Grandma Nellie lived only five miles from the farm that my grandfather, Earl, had established.  Dan and Nellie were also only two miles from town.

My dad told me the story of a particular day that he received a phone call from Nellie while he was still at work at a truck stop, about a half-hour from his grandparents’ house.  It was the day that Dan and Nellie were to go into town on the springboard wagon.  Granddad had gone outside to hitch up the team of horses.  Time passed, but too much time.  It was unusual for Granddad to take this long getting the horses hitched to the wagon.  Needless to say, Nellie was worried.  Granddad should have been back in the house by now.  Something was wrong and they needed help.

Meanwhile, Dad jumped in his car and drove over to the house on Fayette County Road 4.  After Nellie explained the situation, dad took off out the door, behind the house, past the barn and down the hill into the bottom to go find Granddad.

It was a hot, sultry Illinois morning, which means that the humidity is so high that when a person walks outside, you begin to sweat almost immediately.  Dad recounted that he started to sweat the moment he got out of his car.  Down the hill he went to the bottom ground where the land evens out, but is still a good distance away. When dad found Dan, he said that it was a sight he would never forget.

Granddad looked like a wildman; Dan’s eyes were as wide open as he could get them.  He was on his knees and was using a downed tree limb like an oar, attempting to push himself along.  He didn’t have the physical strength to get up and walk.  The horses had gotten away from him, and Granddad had overheated in the Illinois humidity.  In his late seventies, Dan knew that he was in the fight for his life.

I grew up in this weather, played a lot of softball in the weather, and I know that when you feel overheated, all you want is a lot of water to drink.  In distress, the mind starts to go into survival mode.  Granddad was in survival mode and was using every ounce of what strength he had left to get back home.  It is possible to imagine that Granddad was thinking to himself that he wasn’t going to make it back home.

How the Bible Describes Our Dire Situations

Imagine being in a dire situation.  Maybe you don’t have to work that hard to come up with one; Maybe you’re reading this article amid a dire situation of your own.  You could also be thinking that you’re not going to make it back home, or wherever it is you’re trying to go.  Does any of the following sound familiar to you:

For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.”  (Psalm 143:3, ESV)

For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.”  (Psalm 38:4, ESV)

O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.”  (Ezra 9:6, ESV)

I’m not asking if you know these verses of Scripture, but I’m asking if you’ve felt like what these inspired writers penned so long ago.

Granddad’s Rescuer

Are you crushed to the point where you believe that you’re just about to give up?  My great-Granddad was there.  He likely believed that if he didn’t make it to the house he would die in the woods.  That’s when my dad showed up.

My dad wasn’t married to mom just yet.  Dad was twenty-two years of age, and their wedding was about a year away, which makes this event six years before my arrival on the earth.  Dad grew up on a farm, so he was strong and no stranger to physical exertion.

When Dad finally found Granddad, Dad made him stop and rest.  Granddad said, “I have to get to the house!”

Dad replied, “Ok.”

To which Granddad followed up with, “How am I going to get to the house?!?”

How indeed.  My dad recounts that the two of them were approximately two-hundred yards from the farmhouse and had to go uphill to get to the house after crossing the bottom.

Dad looked at his grandfather, who was in distress, and said, “I’ll carry you.”

“You can’t carry me!” Grandad replied.

“Oh, yes, I can.”

And with that, Dad got Granddad to his feet, and then turned around and got in front of him.  Dad then proceeded to pick Granddad up and carry him, piggyback style, all the way back to the farmhouse.  Two hundred yards, with a final uphill push to get to a tree near the wellhead.  Granddad was placed under a shade tree and drank two big glasses of water that Dad pumped out for him from the well.

If you ask him, my dad will tell you that this was not a heroic act.  It was his sense of family and the values that had been instilled in him that led him to carry Granddad back to the farmhouse.  I was taught those same values; family takes care of family.

God Dispatches Rescuers

The family of God is no different.  God is the one who will rescue. While He may not show up physically, there are many ways God will provide a way out for you and anyone else who calls on His name.

He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.”  (Job 33:28 ESV)

The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  (Psalm 27:1, ESV)

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”  (Psalm 62:7, ESV)

How about this promise from God: “I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be prey.  And I will judge between sheep and sheep.”  (Ezekiel 34:22, ESV)

Here is another promise for those who love God: “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.  When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble: I will rescue and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”  (Psalm 91:14-16, ESV)

“I relied completely on the Lord, and he turned toward me and heard my cry for help.  He lifted me out of the watery pit, out of the slimy mud.  He placed my feet on a rock and gave me secure footing.”  (Psalm 40:1-2, NET)

And this, one of my favorites: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”  (Luke 15:4-7, ESV)

“Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”  (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)

God is the one who rescues, even if we believe it is impossible for Him to do so.  Your situation may be dire, and you may think that hope is gone.  But like my great-Granddad, someone is looking for you.  A rescuer has been dispatched.  Help is near.

I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.”  (Ezekiel 34:16 ESV)

As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.”  (Ezekiel 34:12 ESV)

Jesus sent us his Holy Spirit to be present for us, to look for those who are lost and in dire straits.  Even for those who are already called by His name, there is no situation that you face where God cannot come to your aid.  He is your shepherd and will leave the flock to find you, and when he finds you, he will carry you back to safety.

You may be wide-eyed, on your knees, and paddling hard in an attempt to save your own life.  I tell you that the one who walked on water will find you no matter where you are, and no matter what you’ve done.  Help is on the way.

But I will give thanks to you over and over, and everyone will hear my lavish praises.  For you stand right next to the broken ones as their saving hero to rescue them from all their accusers!”  (Psalm 109:30-31, TPT)

Prayer to Be Rescued by God

You can pray this prayer right now: “Father God, I call out to you as the only one who can save me and the only one who really knows everything about the circumstances I am in.  You are my God, and I acknowledge You and You alone as the One true God.  I need your help.  I need You.  You are the source of my life, and you are my life.  Calm my heart, calm my mind, and bring to me Your peace.  I place my life in Your capable hands, and I trust you with all of my heart.  Be near, O Lord, and minister to me Your ministry.  In Jesus, powerful name, I pray, amen.

As I said, Dan was the only one of my four great-grandfathers that I got to know.  I am thankful that he was rescued on that hot summer day, and stayed around until just before my seventh birthday in 1975.  I will see him again someday, and I want to talk to him about this day in his life and what was going through his mind.  I want to tell him all that I have accomplished, and hope that he is proud of me for carrying on the family name and values: We will follow the Lord our God and “Family takes care of family.”

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15, NIV)

(Thanks to my dad for writing down this piece of family history and sharing it with me and all who read this article.)

Other related articles by David Shelton

Finding God’s Peace by Using Your Precious Memories

Prayer for God’s Strength One Step at a Time

Praying During Your Darkest Hours

Taking a Leap of Faith Prayer: Whether for Rescue or the Need to Move Forward with God’s Plan


Copyright @ 2022, David E. Shelton.  All rights reserved

David Shelton