That’s the word that keeps going round and round in my mind when I think of my friend Peter.
I fell in love with the boy in 2009 when I heard about him through World Next Door (please click here to read all about him there).
I met him in January, 2013.
And we said good-bye to him this week.
Peter was like many boys, happy, funny, tender-hearted, kind. He loved cars and he liked to sing.
Peter was different, too.
Abandoned by his mother, he was alone and filthy and beaten in an orphanage. He was losing hope and growing weaker by the day from the muscular dystrophy which would eventually claim his precious life.
But God had other plans for Peter.
Peter was rescued.
He was adopted by Yuri and Ira Levchenko. He shared a room with a new big brother, Taras. He was surrounded by a brood of other brothers and sisters who adored and cared for him. He was deeply treasured and loved until he passed away July 1.
Peter was rescued.
Now he can breathe.
He can run.
He can climb trees and swim and sing without getting breathless.
Peter is free.
I’m not sure Peter quite knew how he changed hearts around the world, that he was, in fact, a hero to many. When I met him in January, 2013, he was simply happy to sing Christmas songs and show us the fish in his new fish tank and the matchbox cars he lined up on his bedside table and tell us how much he loved Jesus.
But that’s the best sort of hero, isn’t it?
The one who is least likely to be one.
The one who has no clue he is one.
But the one who is a hero, just the same.
A hero because he was rescued.
And because of Peter’s miracle of a rescue and his response of grace, we who knew him are all a little more confident that we are rescued, too.
In the midst of our own filth, our own weakness, our own flaws and sins and loneliness and pain and breathless searching for peace and a home,
we are each of us–praise God–rescued, still.
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.