Best of Daily Reflections: HELP! I’m In Over My Head!

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:13

One Father’s Day our family was vacationing in Mexico. The surf was up so my youngest son, Grant, and I waded out to do a bit of body surfing. We got in over our heads—literally. A rip current sucked us into deeper water. We are both good swimmers, but hard as we tried, we couldn’t make any progress toward shore. Every few seconds another wave would thunder over us. There wasn’t enough time between waves to wipe the salt water from our eyes and catch a breath. I looked at Grant, and he looked at me. I could see it in his eyes—we were both afraid for our lives. Strangely, I remember thinking, “If we both drown that will sure put a damper on this Father’s Day celebration.” That’s when, for the first time in my life, I cried at the top of my lungs, “HELP!”

Because of the wind and the waves, we might as well have been screaming into a pillow. From the shore, we looked like two men having fun in the surf. In The Human Mind, Karl Menninger makes the observation: “It’s hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.” I wonder how much of the “fun” people appear to be having in the world is really the gyrations of people caught in the rip currents of some misery?

As Jesus’ prayer moves toward its completion, he teaches us to pray, “ … rescue us from the evil one.”

The evil one Jesus refers to is the devil, the supernatural and personal force for evil that “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The rescue that Jesus describes is far more than a simple self-initiated change of course—a little tweaking of bad habits. No, this kind of rescue is beyond our capacity to carry out. The words Jesus uses refer to a rescue that is so forceful as to be nearly violent in its intensity. The physical battles we wage are miniature versions of the greater supernatural battles Paul describes:

For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)

I read once of a boy in Florida who was snatched by an alligator. His mother came to his rescue and pulled him from the gator’s jaws. Years later, he was showing the scars on his legs to some friends when one asked, “What about those scars on your arms? Were they also from the alligator?” He replied, “No, the scars on my arms are from my mom.” And then after a pause he smiled thinly and added, “My mom would never let me go!”

Grant and I survived our scare in the surf. Shortly after my cry for help, a mysterious current carried us to a sandbar. We dug our toes into the sand and struggled to safety.

Even though no one else can see them, I can—the scars on my arms from all the times God has rescued me from worse things than the surf, from the evil one. Take time every day to pray these words, “rescue us from the evil one,” and if you can’t remember those words just cry HELP!

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: People have mixed feelings about the existence of a supernatural and personal force for evil in the world. What have you concluded about this? Have you ever been so ensnared in trouble that you cried out loud for help? What was that like?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, whether I know it or not I am part of a tremendous supernatural battle. There is a lot at stake even in the minor choices I make. Don’t let go of me, Lord—ever—even when I fail to recognize all that’s at stake. I will be forever grateful for the scars of your rescuing embrace. Amen.


Dave Peterson is an ordained pastor who is the Director of Community Outreach for The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and Scholarly Advisor for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He is the author of Receiving and Giving, Unleashing the Bless Challenge in Your Life. Dave and his wife, Terri, have four adult children and four grandchildren.


Should Christians (or Christian businesses) tithe? How much money should I give away? Does God want me to take a vow of poverty and give everything away? Will God punish me if I don’t tithe? How do I balance my budget of needs and wants with the biblical command of giving? If you’ve ever asked these questions to find out exactly what tithing means and how it applies to you, you are not alone. We’ll explore the concept of Tithing in this High Calling theme, and we invite you to follow along. Ask questions, offer your insights, and help us keep the conversation going.