Lord you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. Psalm 10:17
Here in the United States our national motto is “In God We Trust” and it is interesting that it appears, not on our flag, nor directly in our constitution but on our money. But it was not at the height of our prosperity that we adopted this phrase, but during the dark days of the Civil War. Despite the ultimate victory of the Northern States, the reality was that both sides suffered devastation, death and tragedy on a scale never seen before or since in our history. When our hopes were at their lowest it was introduced on the 2 cent piece in 1864. Maybe that is instructive for our day of social upheaval, violence and division. We must remember that our trust in God is not a bold boast but a cry to Him for help. Today’s verse reminds us that hope is not in victory or success, but in the promise that God will hear our cry. He is our hope this morning and forever. So what is your disappointment? What is your despair? Where are you feeling the weakest? Remember that He has promised to hear, to come and to comfort. If we put our trust in God, we are saying not that things are great but that whatever comes we will fully and only belong to Him!
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Psalm 37:4 ESV
You need to know that I have never seen an angel, but I believe in them. Yet the entire concept of angels seems pretty strange to me. Why would an all powerful God who can command light into existence and who holds every atom in the universe together by the power of His word, want to use angels to do stuff? And yet, the Bible tells us that, God chooses to employ angels to take care of us.
When our kids were still in diapers and credit cards were only issued to folks who didn’t need them we struggled financially. Though we had enough to pay for our groceries, rent and the electric bill, by the end of the month, there was nothing left over. Each morning as I got the car, glanced at the front tires, which were daily growing balder, I breathed another prayer and put the key in the ignition. Every afternoon when I pulled back up into our parking spot, I racked my brain trying to figure how we could squeeze a few dollars together, then put it out of my mind, picked up my lunch box and trudged back up the stairs to our apartment.
Though we didn’t have much mullah, we did have plenty of friends. One of those was a confirmed bachelor named Bob and my wife insisted that we invite him over for dinner at least once a week. She worried that otherwise he would never eat a decent meal. Bob became like an uncle to our boys and they loved nothing better than running full speed and jumping onto his lap unexpectedly, then laughing hysterically as he let out a loud groan. Regularly, Bob would remind me about those tires, and regularly I would tell him that we would get to it next month. But whether it was an unexpected doctor’s visit or a new pair of shoes for our growing boys, it seemed “next month” never came.
All the time I worried about those bald tires I never once thought about praying for new ones. Not that I doubted God, but it simply never occurred to me to trouble the almighty with mundane issues like tread wear. He probably had important stuff to do like taking care of orphans in Africa or rescuing beggars in India. But one day I discovered that God isn’t too busy to notice even the tiniest problem we face while He is taking care of folks with bigger issues. He sends angels to camp out around us, to help in every struggle we face.
It was a Sunday morning and just as always we scrubbed up the boys and squeezed them into their church clothes then headed off for the 11 AM service. I put my worry about the tires into the back of my mind convinced I could only pray about life threatening issues. Yes I know I should have prayed but I am glad that our Father in Heaven doesn’t always do things according to formula. I have no idea what our pastor preached that morning, but engraved forever in my mind was the miracle of two brand new tires sitting at the top of our stairs on our return. Yes our angel that day actually was named Bob, but I’m pretty sure that he was enlisted into the service of the ones with wings. What was best of all was the astonishingly wonderful discovery that God knew and cared and sent angels to take care of every detail like stubbing our toe or getting a flat. God wanted me to know that whether He was washing my dirty feet, leaving tires on our stairs or dying on the cross for my sins, that He loves us all completely, in every detail and forever!
Two Tires On the Stairs by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 Use by permission only, all rights reserved.
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them… Psalm 37:39-40a
Calling God our helper has gotten a bad name as some have misinterpreted this as if it meant treating God like an assistant or employee. But the Hebrew word used here for help means to surround, protect and come to the aid of someone in trouble. God is not working for us, but instead He is like the ambulance driver or fire fighter who is equipped and waiting to answer our cry for help. So today if you look out your window and see trouble on your street and the news on television is filled with videos of riots remember that God’s help is available whenever we ask. The writer of Hebrews puts this into practical terms by saying;
Keep free from the love of money and be content with what you have. for He has said; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
What is really at the bottom of a lot of the unrest and anger we are witnessing is money. Liberals and conservatives both act as if people would be content if they just had a little more. Conservatives complain the government has taken too much and liberals act as if people need to be given more. Whatever happened to; “All we need is love!”? So no matter what side of the political aisle we stand on, today’s reading counsels us to take a deep breath and step back from the conflict and remember that the love of money is like a boss who can never be satisfied. If we become slaves to him we will lose our spiritual freedom and the only one happy with that is Satan. But if we turn to Jesus for help; He promises us contentment that no government can tax away and no thief can steal. He has promised to never leave or forsake us and the Greek word used here for never means – NEVER! He never hides out in the middle of a crisis or walks away when we mess up. He is our ever present help in the time of trouble(Psalm 46:1). He is heaven’s 911 operator and when we dial the phone of prayer; Jesus answers. He is always listening. All we need to do is cry out in faith and we will hear His calm and steady voice saying; “This is 911. What is your emergency today?