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Help of the Helpless

Ronald Reagan is remembered for many things, one of them being his disdain for big government. That disdain was on display when he said on one occasion, "The most terrifying words in the English language are: `Pm from the government and Pm here to help.' " An overstatement for sure, but also a reminder that there are times government cannot or will not provide all or the kind of help people need. Hundreds of years before Christ, Psalm 60:11-12 warned there are times and circumstances when human helpers, even well-meaning ones, are not enough — "Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies." In 1847 Henry F. Lyte wrote the beautiful prayer-song "Abide With Me." As he contemplated the struggles of life and the inevitable approach of death, Lyte included this appeal to God in the first verse of the song: "When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, 0 abide with me." The Gospels show Jesus helping the helpless: feeding hungry people, healing diseases, casting out demons, raising the dead. Most important of all, forgiving sin. In multiple ways that had to do with both physical and spiritual needs, Jesus demonstrated God to be the help of the helpless. No government program nor any other kind of humanly devised aid can provide the help we need to deal with such things as temptation, sin, guilt, death, and God's judgement. To meet these age-old needs of the soul we need a help no man can give!

Dr. I. M. Haldeman told of a scene in the mountains of New York. A bridge had been thrown across a gorge hundreds of feet deep. One day Haldeman watched as two huge locomotives slowly approached the bridge for the very first time. Once on it they came to a complete standstill in the center of the bridge. There they sat for half a day, many tons of iron quivering and bearing down on the bridge beneath like a great spider's web supporting them. What did it mean? They were there to test and demonstrate the strength of the bridge, to show there was no weakness in it; to prove it was able to bear up under the greatest test put on it, and so be worthy of the fullest trust. Haldeman told of this scene in a pamphlet entitled, "Could Our Lord Have Sinned?" He went on to say, "All the weight of temptation was crowded on our Lord Jesus Christ in that hour when the devil met Him on the mount. He was 'tempted in all points' like as we are, from animal appetites and desires, to the highest reach of ambition for self-gratification and power. He was tempted and tried and tested at every point . . . . that we might see Him as the majestic, unbreakable bridge across the deep chasm of sin and death; and so to fling ourselves, without reserve and in unhesitating confidence upon Him, as the One and all supreme object of our unfaltering faith and profound adoration." Hebrews 4:14-16 reminds us God can help us when others fail: "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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." Let God help you!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ