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Self-Effort Is a False Rescue

I shared about my word for 2017, delight; and I want to attempt to tell you how incredibly God showed up to me as 2016 wound to a close.

My word for last year was planting. As usual, we go with what we understand at the moment and I had some instruction on what that would look like; but looking back now I realize God was as much planting me as I was seeking to plant.

Without trying to explain all the details, I was listening to a sermon podcast and at the end, the minister instructed us to ask the Father what lie we may have believed about Him. I did just that and had only one word come up in my spirit, “rescue.”

“What could that mean?” I thought to myself. I knew throughout the Psalms especially that God rescued, but how did I believe God doesn’t rescue?

I was immediately taken back to the hospital corridor where I had been walking and praying the day my dad died. I was just 16. We had been rushed to the hospital earlier, but he was gone when we got there.

I asked God to raise him from the dead. I pleaded, but nothing changed. As soon as that resignation sunk in, I immediately told myself I would have to quit school and get a job to support the family. I was afraid, but determined to step up.

I jumped from crying out to God to taking on overwhelming responsibility in the blink of an eye.

As I tried to piece all this together, I began to understand that I believed God didn’t rescue because of this past experience. When God “failed” in my mind, I took on self-effort as my primary means of problem solving. None of the things I had imagined actually happened, but it didn’t matter.

The other part of what God communicated to me for 2016 is that human effort and human wisdom would fail in that year. I watched it happen in my life and arguably in many areas of society. God was tearing out a root and planting me in His garden of delight.

I asked God to forgive me for leaning on human wisdom when I should have asked Him what He wanted to say in those dark moments decades earlier. It was a beautiful, healing moment as I listened now in my spirit to what He was speaking if I had only listened then.

I’m thankful for the word of God and its many layers. I’m thankful that even when I’m convinced I know what He’s said or doing, He doesn’t stop with my understanding. He keeps going until His purposes are clear.

I know if hard times in your life have caused you to believe something untrue about God, but find the place to trust Him again. Your effort, your wisdom, is not going to produce the life of His Spirit in you or your surroundings.

The Eternal is my light amidst my darkness
and my rescue in times of trouble.
So whom shall I fear?
He surrounds me with a fortress of protection.
So nothing should cause me alarm. –Psalm 27:1 (VOICE)

Today’s another day to find healing and wholeness. Our God is a mighty rescue.

How about you? Have you asked the Father if you’re believing lies about Him? Do you find yourself leaning on self-effort? What are you thankful for this week?


Welcome to this week’s Everyday Testimony.

I hope you’ll join me every week for encouragement and a celebration of the goodness of our God.


  1. Thank you, Jason, for sharing such a personal and touching story here. Yes, self-effort is futile; God is the only One who can rescue us, our light in times of darkness.

    • I’m so thankful He allowed me to experience that. Piece by piece, He restores and renews. Amazes me how much is lurking in past shadows, but in His time He brings it all into the light. Thanks so much, Martha. Blessings to you too. 🙂

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