“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. -Isaiah 55:8 (NASB)

There’s a joke that talks about a man stuck in a flood zone. The waters are rising quickly, and a neighbor offers him a spot on his rowboat. The man says, “No, I will wait on the Lord, because He will save me!” Later, when the waters have risen so high that the man has to stand on his car to stay dry, another boat comes by and offers to rescue him. Again, he says he will wait on the Lord to save him. Finally, the man is up on the roof of his house, since the waters have risen even higher. A police helicopter throws down a rope ladder…and he rejects that as well, for the same reason.

It’s not long before the waters overtake him, and he dies by drowning. He’s then taken up to Heaven, and asks God, “Why didn’t you save me? I faithfully waited for You!” God replied, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter, wasn’t that enough?”

It’s a cute joke, but also underlines two things: sometimes, salvation from our trials can take a very different form than what we might expect; and that God works through people as His hands and feet.

We may be the very hands and feet He needs to work through, or the very smile someone needs to help them see light in their dark place. People are often the instruments of His work; I can testify to that through His using a coworker to wake me up from my 40-year sleepwalk!

God is always present, and we can pray to Him for discernment to make God-honoring choices and steward the gifts He gave us to His glory…perhaps to be His unexpected rescue instrument for the hurting and the lost.