The prayer of the Our Father is filled with petitions. In the very last petition, we ask our heavenly Father to deliver us from evil. What does this mean?
Yesterday I was at a local library making a phone call near the outside entrance, and while I was waiting, I watched a young man playing with a little girl on the front lawn of the library. A few falls, a few laughs as she chased him around the grass.
There was also a little boy roaming around the grass, but he was all by himself. Now, the library lawn is edged with a small wall, so when he got to the end of the lawn, he couldn’t wander out into the street. But as he walked along the wall, he got to the spot where the wall ends, and where the sidewalk entrance opens out into the public street – with rush-hour traffic.
I thought, “Oh, oh.” But before I got past that a man came dashing out of nowhere to catch him before he even made it off the lawn.
It was his father.
He guided the little one away from danger, back into the lawn, and back into the group.
When He was crucified, Jesus experienced everything a child of God experiences when they’ve wandered off from God and into danger.
That means experienced great mental and physical suffering. We know how great: lashed to the bone and crucified naked in front of everyone, including His own mother – all to make up for everyone else’s offenses.
But it also means He experienced great temptation. How great? One sin, in the middle of hell on earth, and the whole world is lost. He experienced what it’s like to get right up to that spot where the wall ends and the sidewalk rolls an inviting red carpet into rush-hour traffic: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1)
But it also means this:
He experienced the greatest experience imaginable.
He experienced The Resurrection. He experienced His Father’s salvation.
He was delivered.
“You are a hiding place for me, you preserve me from trouble; you encompass me with deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Ps 32:7-8)
You may have wandered so far out of God’s presence that you’ve fallen into great suffering and temptation. But remember, your heavenly Father still sees you. He will still preserve you from danger.
He will still deliver you from evil.