“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
Have you ever felt this way?
Circumstances that cause you to stop dead in your tracks and force you to consider the unthinkable?
Dr. Roberto Canessa knows this proverb only too well. As a survivor of the infamous 1972 Andes plane crash, he was forced to accept cannibalism of the dead to survive. Canessa tells, “I will never forget that first incision nine days after the crash, each man alone with his conscience on that infinite mountain-top, on a day colder and greyer than any before or since.”
Talk about desperate times!
Maybe we haven't faced such extremism as Dr. Canessa, but desperation is a condition that we all experience to some degree.
I vividly remember two such times in my life- the first, April 2003 when my daughter turned twelve. We made a special trip to Louisiana for the occasion and had a beautiful day in Cajun country that started out ideal but ended in terror. Family and friends gathered for a celebratory crawfish boil and while the adults were relaxing the kids were taking turns riding a four-wheeler in an adjacent cattle pasture.
My daughter begged to be allowed to take her turn, and despite my gut instinct, I agreed. Trying not to be that over-protective mom, I pushed my fears aside and attempted to focus on conversation instead of fixating on my daughter’s every move. Needless to say, the conversation was not alleviating my concerns as my sister-in-law was discussing a local boy who had just recently been paralyzed in a four-wheeler accident.
When I thought I couldn't take it anymore, screams rang out from the kids yelling that my daughter had flipped the four-wheeler! I desperately scanned the horizon to try to locate her and could only see at the far edge of the pasture what appeared to be a four-wheeler completely upside down and no sign of my child!
Fear, terror, panic seized my heart, and I too began screaming, screaming for my husband, screaming for someone to do something!
I’ve never seen my husband run so fast- even beating pickup trucks loaded up with others trying to get to my daughter. I too began running - only to crumple in my tracks- I simply couldn’t go forward and face the possibility that my only child could be dead.
Desperation settled into my soul and I cried out pleading to God- "Please Lord Jesus don't let my baby be dead, please Lord Jesus, don't let my baby be dead. Please let her be OK- please don’t let her be paralyzed. Please, please, please!”
Desperate cries uttered from a desperate mother.
Heard by God.
My child was alive with only some nasty lacerations from being entangled in a barb-wired fence. Ironically, the fence pole (that she mistakenly hit in her haste for fun) was the one thing that kept the weight of the four-wheeler from crushing her tiny body.
Fast forward to the year 2011- the year my daughter was deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. In the height of unrest with violence escalating due to protesting against the burning of the Quran in the United States, I received an international phone call during odd-hours. I immediately knew something was wrong and dropped to my knees in desperation as I answered the phone. Shaking and praying a desperate prayer that my daughter is all right I wait to hear the news from the other end.
Again, desperate cries from a desperate mother.
And again, heard by God.
This time, my child was alive and was being transported for evaluation of a spinal injury. Ironically, six Afghani soldiers and all her bulletproof gear saved her from being crushed by a faulty 300-pound- armored vehicle hydraulic door.
Like Canessa, desperation filled my heart, but my response was pure dependence on God.
In those moments, when desperation seizes you and you are paralyzed not knowing what to do, where to turn or where to go -there is but one solution…..
Look to God.
Psalm 88:1-2 says, “Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before You day and night. May my prayer reach Your presence; listen to my cry.”
Seek Him and trust in His promises; having confidence that He is there.
God already knows our plight. He doesn’t turn from us in our most desperate hour; in fact, He is present and counts every single tear that we shed.
"You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side! "~Psalm 56:8-9
God is the only one that can comfort, can provide and can even work miracles!
Nothing is too desperate for God!
So, when desperation strikes- depend on God.
Father, thank you that you are always present and that you care so deeply for your children. You can be trusted to make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way and can do the impossible. May we always seek you; especially in desperate times and come to know you as Immanuel- God with us.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will make your paths straight. “ ~ Proverbs 3:5-6