“Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues; we own our lips–who is our master?’” (Psalms 12:1 NIV)
Doesn’t it so often seem, as it did to David in the first line of Psalms 12:1, that the “godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men”?
It seems more and more than people don’t care about each other. We are all in a dog-eat-dog kind of world, always looking out for our own well-being, and the recent COVID crisis has only made things worse. Everyone is afraid to reach out for fear of contracting the disease, and you can’t really blame them. After all, none of us wants to be sick! It can be so much easier to just stay away from people!
In the same light, we also see that people have even become afraid of accepting help as well. While hiking this past summer, my wife often reached out her hand to help people through the tough spots on the trail; however, no one ever took her up on her offer to help…
Is there anyone who will look after the hurting?
David records: “’Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the LORD. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’” (Psalms 12:5 NIV).
This means that when we reach out to help others, God will protect us!
We were out hiking on the Bruce Trail one afternoon, seeking a rock formation known as a “flowerpot”. We could see the strikingly beautiful stack of rock from the trail above, but there was a side trail leading down to the base of the flowerpot. The initial descent was aided by a staircase of sorts. It wasn’t very steady, the rails were too far from the steps, and there was a lot of open space between the wooden slats; but somehow I managed to make it down – Not an easy feat for someone who is legally blind in one eye! When I got down to the bottom of the stairs, however, I faced a new dilemma: The last step was obviously missing! There was at least a meter drop between the step I stood on and the narrow, slippery-looking rock below where my wife stood, holding out her hand to help me. And beyond that rock? Well, we’ll just say that everything went downhill from there… Literally!
I was grateful for my wife’s offered hand, but she didn’t look like she was securely situated enough to be able to help someone who is 1.5 times her size and weight. There’s no way she could catch me, and if I went down, I’d drag her down too! It was too late to go back up, however. There was absolutely no way to safely turn around on the precarious step I stood on. What would I do?
That was when my human “angel” appeared. He was standing at the foot of the stairs waiting for his family to catch up to him, and when he saw my dilemma, all fears of COVID fled his mind. He didn’t hesitate to reach out his hand to me, and between his strong arm and my wife’s help on the other side, I soon stood beside him…And he didn’t even move away to allow for physical distancing!
Was he putting himself at risk?
Sure he was. I was a perfect stranger to him, and he had absolutely no way of knowing if I was sick or not. It didn’t appear to matter to him, however. He took to heart God’s promise in Psalms 12:5: “I will protect them from those who malign them” (NIV). He gave me his hand without any thought of his own safety, and thanks to him, I was safe.
Now I also had the choice of whether or not I wanted to take the hand of a perfect stranger. After all, he could have been sick! I decided, however, that if God went to all the trouble to send me help in my time of need, I could trust Him to have sent me someone who didn’t have COVID-19!
I’m pretty sure that my human “angel” probably sanitized his hands after helping me, and yes, I did sanitize my hands after he helped me as well. But isn’t the need for a bit of hand sanitizer better than refusing to help those in need?
This kind of sacrifice demonstrates the type of love that Jesus calls His followers to have. He cared enough about us to willingly hang on a cross. Shouldn’t we reach out to care for others as well? For when we do, we show that we care, and we are giving people a glimpse of our Heavenly Father!
Will you starting helping people in need? Will you give them a hand, either physically or figuratively? Let’s take an oath to love like Jesus loves. Even if it could potentially put us in difficulty! We can certainly trust our God: “You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked…” (Psalms 12:7 NIV).
In His love,
(To access the entire “The Sling for God” devotional series, please click here.)