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Rescue from Without

 


Today we will look at the stage of the Return called "Rescue from Without" in the Hero's Journey.  In this stage, the hero is making their escape from the world of their adventure, but they have found themselves in a bind and they need help from outside of themselves.  They lack what is needed, even with all of the powers and skills gained throughout their adventure.  

In the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke is unable to defeat the Emporer until his Father, Darth Vader, changes sides and throws the Emporer to his death.  Since he had been fighting Vader moments before, this was an unexpected turn of events, it was "rescue from without".  

In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo reached Mount Doom but he found he was unable to free himself of the control of the ring.  When he held the ring out to throw it into the lava he zoned out and started to put the ring on instead.  It was at this point that Gollum attacked, bit off Frodo's finger, and fell into the lava with the ring in his hand.  Frodo could not have taken the final step without aid from without.      

A few moments later, after completing their quest, Frodo laid down on the ground.  He was giving up and prepared himself to die in that spot, but Gandalf arrived flying on an Eagle to rescue him.  Another example of the rescue from without when the Hero had nothing left to give.  

Sitting in the tomb Jesus was dead.  A dead man cannot raise himself, but help came from without and he was resurrected.  

There is something about the liminal space when we have reached the end of our abilities.  It is in this space that we can be sure God is at work.  Paul, a man well acquainted with the limits of his human form, said this best in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

God, when we feel low or weak and we feel we have nothing left to give, remind us that your strength is most present in our own weakness.  Remind us to have faith like David approaching Goliath, for while he did not know the strength of his enemy, he knew you!  Give peace to those who are now at their limits, let them rest in you, and let them see your rescue come quickly.  

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