Updated: Nov 1, 2020
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
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 in order to survive.
“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 grayer than any before or since.” ~ Canessa
Talk about desperate measures!
I pray none of us ever have to resort to such extremism, but desperation can creep into our lives when we aren't looking, it can drive us to our knees and make use do the unthinkable.
Atticus tells it best- "In all the wild world, there is no more desperate a creature, than a human-being on the verge of losing love."
I vividly remember two such times in my own life- the first, April 2003 when my daughter turned twelve. We made a special trip to Louisiana and had a beautiful day in Cajun country planned. 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 discussed a local boy who had just recently been paralyzed in a four-wheeler accident.
Before I knew it, the kids were screaming that my daughter had flipped the four-wheeler! My worst nightmare unfolding before my eyes! I desperately scanned the horizon and at the far edge of the pasture there appeared to be a tiny four-wheeler completely upside down and no sign of my child!
Terror seized my heart, and I too began screaming, screaming for my husband, screaming for someone to do something! Anything!
Everyone within ear-shot made a wild dash to the accident scene, I too began running - only to crumple in my tracks- I was frozen because I simply couldn’t face the possibility that my only child could be dead.
Desperation settled into my soul and all I could do was plead with 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.
Ironically, the fence pole (that my daughter mistakenly hit in her haste) was the one thing that kept the weight of the four-wheeler from crushing her tiny body. Her injuries were minimal.
Fast forward to the year 2011- the year my daughter was deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. In the height of unrest with the news reporting on base attacks and violence escalating in protest against the burning of the Quran in the United States, I receive an international phone call. Instinctively, I know something is wrong. I drop to my knees in desperation as I answer the phone. Shaking I pray 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.
I've learned that 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.
Don't just take it from me- the Bible provides us a beautiful picture of how God responds to the desperate.
Mark 5:24-34: So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Here we see a woman who had exhausted all resources and all hope. A woman shunned by society as "unclean." Lonely. Isolated. Filled with shame. Desperate for a cure. In her desperation, she finally turns to Jesus. She pushes through the crowd and struggles to barely touch the fringe of his robe.
One encounter with Jesus provided everything that she needed.
Friends, don't miss it. God already knows our plight. He knows our struggles and will not turn away from us in our most desperate hours. When we seek Him and trust in His promises we can have confidence that He is near and He will work ALL things together for our good.
We don't have to resort to desperate measures of our own making when we have a God that lavishly loves us and is more than capable of working miracles on our behalf.
Desperate times call for dependence on God.
“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