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By Barbara Bryant
I ran into an old acquaintance this last week - someone I hadn't seen in what felt like eons. My reaction was somewhat surprising.
I wanted to throw myself on the ground and thank Jesus for delivering me from this person. Now, that would have been a little awkward to do in their presence. So, I waited until I got home.
As I prayed, I began to think about the name of Jesus. Jesus' name means ‘God saves' or ‘God is our deliverer, our salvation.'
I started thinking about the idea of God as Deliverer, as opposed to, God as Preventer. It made me realize how much I wanted God to be my Preventer more than my Deliverer when I realized this person never meant me any good.
There were times I prayed, "God why didn't you stop this subject from being a part of my life story?" Meaning, I wanted God to prevent terrible and horrific things from happening in my life.
The word ‘prevent' means ‘to stop something from happening.' On the contrary, the word ‘delivers' means, ‘I am in deep trouble and need God to rescue me.' I think we all prefer the notion of God as Preventer. Yet, God is so much more often presented in the Bible as a Deliverer. Just read the Psalms.
"Arise, O Lord! Deliver me!" (Psalm 3:7) "Deliver my life from the sword" (Psalm 22:20). "For he will deliver the needy who cry out" (Psalm 72:12). "On him we have set our hope, that he will continue to deliver us" (2 Corinthians 1:10).
Just think about the history of God's people - it is one deliverance after another. No preventative measure. Deliverance.
Now, let me be quick to say that I believe God is also our Preventer. Scripture also presents Him as our shield. We have no idea all that He has shielded us from, which is actually my point. You don't notice God as Preventer or shield, because you don't know what was going to happen to you since God shielded you from it. All we experience is those things where we need God to rescue us - to be our Deliverer.
I believe you thought like me at one point in your Christian walk. You preferred God to be your Preventer. You wanted Him to stop, prevent and thwart negative situations from happening in your life. Instead, God decided to be your Deliverer. Why? So you might know Him (Philippians 3:10).
When God is our Deliverer, we experience a lot of turmoil with all those things that don't get prevented. As a result, we find ourselves saying, "Why did God...how come this...did I not....why me?"
When God doesn't prevent bad things from happening, it often throws us for a loop. We are shaken. We start to doubt or indulge in some sort of self-accusation and blame. It causes a lot of distress.
However, when we realize God is our Deliverer, it helps us not to be terrified by the fact that we may find ourselves thrown into the furnace of afflictions. We understand God is far more a Deliverer than a Preventer, and we can then cry out with confidence, "O God, deliver me" and wait with hopeful expectation that He will deliver.
Praise God for being both Deliverer and Preventer.