A few of my followers know that one part of our nursing home outreach is a weekly newsletter which is distributed in 8-9 different facilities in Florida and Western New York. Sunshine Newsletter is a collaboration between me, Pastor Janice Burnett and Rob Keller. Rob provides the layout and graphic design for every issue but sometimes he also submits a short article and last week’s piece was such a gem that I begged his permission to include it on my blog. I pray you will also be blessed as you think about the question that Rob must answer every day.
Can I Help You? by Rob Keller
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NIV
“Can I help you?” – I hear this question daily because my disability is apparent. I struggle with many simple, everyday tasks. These challenges range from opening food packages to keeping my balance while walking on uneven terrain. Some things are impossible for me, no matter how hard I try. I cannot afford to be too proud to accept help because I can’t live without it. Each morning, the first thing I do is tell God how much I need His help. That prayer has never gone unanswered. God’s compassionate heart and great strength carry me through all my difficulties. I have learned to accept help with a grateful heart. I see the people who assist me each day as God’s agents and His love for me takes on flesh and bones. In the darkest days of my life, I have learned that our Lord is an ever-present help.
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a ESV
That is amazing! God is actively looking for opportunities to strengthen you, so you don’t have to beg and plead, hoping that He will answer. All He requires is that you ask Him and trust Him to provide the help that you need. When God asks, “Can I help you?” – what will you say?
Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. Genesis 33:14 KJV
I love the scene from The Chosen, when Jacob’s sons are digging a well and a neighbor comes over to tell them they probably won’t find any water and then falls into a conversation with Jacob about God. You see no one had ever heard of the God of Israel because Jacob’s name had only recently been changed to Israel. So, the neighbor begins to ask what kind of god Jacob served. First, Jacob begins explaining that God created the universe, that He is invisible and that they do not have a statue of Him anywhere. But as their talk is coming to an end Jacob adds, “Oh yes and He broke my hip!” Now I personally have always found that fact pretty curious. Why would God do that? Maybe the Bible answers that question in this scene from the day after the hip breaking. Jacob had come to meet with his brother Esau and is both astonished and grateful for the mercy he encounters. And when I came to today’s verse I simply thought that Jacob was again dealing in half truth’s when he told his brother to go on ahead. But then I remembered why Jacob had to follow slowly. God had put his hip out of joint and we are told that Jacob walked with a limp because of that for the rest of his life.
Do you feel like God has broken your hip? Does it seem that other people can hurry ahead to do all kinds of exciting things, but your disability holds you back? But just as God did with Jacob, He has not caused us injury to harm us. Instead, God is teaching us to walk softly with the lambs. You see, all his life Jacob had been running. He always did everything he could to get ahead of everyone else. But after Jacob met with God, he lost his ability to run. God wanted Jacob to walk softly with the lambs, and just in case he forgot, he was given a limp. Every step reminded him to go at the pace that God had chosen. Maybe the limp in your life looks different than Jacob’s but when you struggle with that weakness and pain, remember that God has given us every one of His children a limp and each of us some lambs to care for until we finish our journey home.
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children. Matthew 11:27 ESV
Have you ever played a game of Peek-a-boo with a baby?” You cover your face with a blanket, and then just as they begin to get worried, wondering where you are, you pull it back and shout, “Peek-a-boo! I see you!” Now that might not be exactly what you might think of in this verse but in some ways it is very much the same. When Jesus talked about God hiding, He was being confronted by people who didn’t like anything that He did. When He healed on the Sabbath they were mad because it broke their rules. When He went to dinner they gossiped that He ate with sinners and when one woman went as far as to wash His feet with tears they were totally offended. But some people, instead of complaining began to praise and thank Jesus. That made the religious leaders maddest of all! How sad that by moaning and groaning they missed the love and forgiveness of God that Jesus came to bring. But before we are too hard on the Pharisees we need to ask ourselves when the last time was that we saw the love and forgiveness of God around us. Does it feel like God is hiding from us some days? Then we need to repent of the pride that is blinding our eyes and ask God for a child’s heart again. When we do we will discover the joy of a Father who pulls back the curtain and calls out, “Peek-a-boo! I see you!’ Because He delights in revealing Himself to His children!