Like it or not, we all want saving

Like it or not, we all want saving


I don’t mean to be vulgar, but I can’t think of a better way begin this article. In 2013, I read this tweet that is both hilarious and deceptively deep:

There you have it, an atheist’s kryptonite. 

Pick any era of history, from any part of the world, and you’ll find an obsession with heroes. From comic books to the Trojan War and the fate of Achille’s heal, humans are just plain enamored with saviors. Why then, knowing the exact typecast mankind would accept as the Savior of the World (Jesus), did God send him to us as a newborn baby? Or more accurately, as a brand-new life in the womb of a virgin girl? How in the world would that appeal to our addiction to sword-wielding, self-sacrificing heroes, who overcome their enemy with their wits and braun?

Photo credit: PBS

Photo credit: PBS

Mark Twain once offered some insight into our attraction to this type of character: “Our heroes are men [and women] who do things which we recognize, with regret, and sometimes with a secret shame, that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.” 
This lack of self-satisfaction and ability to keep the water in the toilet (so to speak), puts every single human being on a level playing field. WE ALL NEED ANOTHER to do what we cannot. This truth runs deep in the marrow of ministry at Visalia Rescue Mission.

For those of you following us this year, you’ll recall we have been intentionally reviewing why we do what we do and making changes to ensure we’re best serving our guests and residents. That being said, we now have two new changes to announce. 

Beginning January 1, our Life Change Academy will extend from an 8-month to a 12-month residential, recovery program. We will also be ensuring our overnight shelter exists as an “emergency” service by limiting the number of nights our guests can stay — 90 days if meeting weekly with a Case Manager, or 30 days if a guest does not commit to these meetings. Guests will then need to arrange other overnight accommodations for 45 days before being able to return to one of our shelters. These changes are our own version of a New Year’s Resolution — one that we believe will better serve the “least of these” in our community by giving them the incentive and the means for total life-change. 

Many of our graduates say VRM “saved” or “changed” their life, but this ministry is just the tool, or to continue the earlier metaphor, the sword in the hand of a greater Hero. Jesus Christ isn’t just the “reason for the season.” He is the only one who did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Likewise, VRM exists to do for others what they cannot do for themselves, and whether our guests readily admit it or not, deep down they know…they want saving.


Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.