I was thinking about the name of Jesus. How it means "God saves," or, "God is our deliverer, our salvation."
Which got me to thinking about the idea of God as Deliverer, as opposed to, say, the preferred idea of God as Preventer. It made me realize how much I want God to be my Preventer more than Deliverer, meaning, I want him to prevent bad things from happening in my life. Prevent means it never happens to me. Deliver means I am in deep trouble and need God to rescue me. I think we all prefer the notion of God as Preventer.
And yet, God is so much more often presented in the Bible as Deliverer. My goodness, just read the Psalms. "Arise, O Lord! Deliver me!" (3:7). "Deliver my life from the sword" (22:20). "For he will deliver the needy who cry out" (72:12). And just think about the history of God's people; it is one deliverance after another. Paul's life is as well, which causes him to say, "On him we have set our hope, that he will continue to deliver us" (2 Cor 1:10).
Not prevent. Deliver. It is a very different view of life with God.
Now, let me be quick to say that I believe God is also our Preventer. Scripture also presents him as our shield. And 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 think it would be helpful to come to terms with how much we'd all prefer God to be our Preventer. Because when we hold fast to this view, we experience a lot of turmoil with all those things that don't get prevented. Why did God...how come this...did I not.... You know how this works. Notice how when he doesn't prevent bad things from happening, it often throws us for a loop. We get shaken. We go to doubt, or some sort of self-accusation and blame. It causes a lot of distress.
But when we realize God is our Deliverer, it helps us not be thrown by the fact that we sometimes find ourselves thrown into the furnace. God has not abandoned us. We have not blown it. We understand God is far more Deliverer than Preventer, and we can then cry out with confidence "O God, deliver me" and wait with hopeful expectation that he will deliver.
Anyhow, the categories are beginning to prove helpful, so I thought I'd share them.