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Heaven Help Us

Help is something we all need from time to time. Back in 1847 Henry F. Lyte wrote words which have encouraged and comforted millions over the years – "Abide with me; fast falls the even-tide; The darkness deepens: Lord, with me abide! When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, 0 abide with me! Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; Earth's joys grow dim, its glories fade away; Change and decay in all around I see; 0 thou who chang-est not, abide with me!" (1" and 2' verses of Abide With Me; Henry F. Lyte, 1847). Long before 1847, the writer of Psalms 46:1 wrote words that have comforted and strengthened weak and troubled and needy souls for centuries — "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble." The New Testament reminds us God wants to help us. Jesus was God in the flesh. When we look at Him we get the clearest conception possible to what the Father is like. Jesus even went so far as to say, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 1:1, 14, 18; 14:9). In the Gospels we see Jesus helping people. He fed people who didn't have food. He healed blind eyes and made deaf ears to hear again. He put strength and health back into palsied and paralyzed limbs. In Matthew 15:25 we read of a desperate Canaanite woman who came begging mercy from Jesus for a hopeless situation. Her daughter was demon-possessed, and as she approached Jesus she "came and worshiped Him (Mark 7:24 says she "fell at his feet"). She prayed a brief but desperate three word prayer, "Lord, help me." After a brief conversation designed to test her faith, the Lord granted her request and Matthew reports that "her daughter was healed from that very hour" (Matthew 15:28).

You may not be without food (and I hope you never are). You may not have leprosy or a demon–possessed child (though it may seem so at times!), and you may not be physically deaf or paralyzed. But sooner or later we all need God's help. Five-year-old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother prepared supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn't want to go in alone. "It's dark in there, and I'm afraid." She asked again, but he persisted. Finally she said, "It's okay. Jesus is in there and He will be with you. This time Johnny walked slowly to the door, cracked it open, and peeked inside. He saw it was dark, and started to turn back when an idea suddenly came to him. He looked in again and said, "Jesus, since You're already in there, would You please hand me that can of tomato soup?" Where do we turn when life gets dark and scary, when other humans have done all they can? Where do we go for help with sin and sorrow, and guilt and grief? Who can help when you feel weak and powerless in the face of persistent temptation and tests and trials? Hebrews 4:15-16 brings good news – "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Heaven can help us! Will you let Heaven help?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ