Liam Neeson’s character delivers one of my favorite movie scenes in Taken when he warns his daughter, “They are going to take you.” But a few minutes later, he assures Kim’s kidnapper, “…I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Right away, you get the sense he’ll back up his promise; after all, he has “a particular set of skills.”
I have my own Liam Neeson in my daddy, and he comes complete with his personal skill set. Daddy doesn’t suffer foolishness or dishonesty. When I was young, everybody knew whose child I was—old and young alike, teachers, friends, and classmates. And when I misbehaved, I knew it, too. I trusted him to defend, protect, and provide for me, and even now, if I call, “Daddy…” he does whatever he can to help.
In A Long Time Comin’, nobody in Spring Hope messes with my character either; she packs a ton of spirit into her 100-pound frame. Beatrice Agnew delivers her children from one scrape after another, using her own grit, strength of will, and practicality. When she says “I wish you would,” folks know better, trusting she, too, can back up her simply stated words.
Don’t we all hanker for a Liam, a Granny B, or a parent’s tough love at some point? Not to avenge a kidnapping or discipline a sassy child, but to ease our distress and vanquish our enemies, whether they’re deadlines, difficult circumstances, or naysayers. Someone to save us from suffering, mistakes, and rebelliousness? Well, we need look no more. Our longing has been satisfied in God.
The Israelites had everything they needed as well in their intimate relationship with their Savior, their Father. Over and over this hard-headed, recalcitrant people turned to earthly pleasures, other people, and idols. Yet God loved and forgave their unfaithfulness until eventually, He sent prophets to inform them—in so many words—“You will be taken.”
Before we start pointing fingers, we must admit we ignore this warning in our own lives. We constantly get swept up within the whirlwind of everyday temptations, worries, and distractions, and we run to our earthly heroes—parents, advisers, lawyers, or friends—to free us. Remember that Veggie Tales song “God is Bigger Than the Boogeyman”? He also towers over the heroes in our life’s story.
Sure, our hometown heroes can mirror His constancy. Beatrice’s granddaughter, Evelyn, sticks her nose where it doesn’t belong. Yet, that doesn’t stop her Granny B from sheltering Evelyn at her Spring Hope home. Kim’s misbehavior doesn’t deter Liam from moving heaven and Earth to find her and destroying a few sports cars along the way. My daddy’s “No-no-no-no” was legendary, but he was right there to pull the car out of the ditch when I wrecked it.
But there’s no one like our God. The Israelites rejected Him time and again, yet He pursued them relentlessly because He is faithful when we are faithless. He loved them—and us—first and always. So even before their capture, He reassured,
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;(Isaiah 43:1-4)
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you;
Therefore I will give men for you,
And people for your life.”
Another favorite scene in Taken? When Kim finally clutches a battered and beaten Liam and whispers, “You came for me” and he responds, “I told you I would.” She’s expressing her thankfulness and wonder, not her disbelief. Similarly, in my novel, Evelyn tucks into the warm plate of grits her Granny B offers her; Evelyn isn’t resentful, just grateful—and hungry. I, myself, have cried in relief when Daddy saved the day, and my behind.
Babylon, Egypt, Edom, Assyria…all had counted victory over the Jewish people. Yet, the ultimate victory was assured, though seventy years passed before God brought His people home to Jerusalem. They couldn’t save themselves. And neither could Kim, the Agnews, nor I. As much as I love my own daddy, I need the true Deliverer, a Father, to knock some sense into me, hunt me down, and rescue me. To say “No” or “Yet a little while.” Because it’s not my enemies who should be brought to their knees. I should, every time I encounter trial, endure loss, engage in battle, and lift my hands in praise. I need to remember that all is not lost. Victory is assured. My Savior is not delaying His deliverance but is working all the time on my behalf. That is my hope, my truth.
He’ll come for me. Just like He told me He would.
So he answered and said to me:
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:(Zechariah 4:6)
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.