August 12, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 255: Very Present Help

Very Present Help

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1 ESV)

" 'And who is my neighbor?' Jesus replied, 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' ' " (Luke 10:29b-35 NIV)

Very: lavish, generous, overflowing, more.

Present: near, engaged, involved.

Help: assistance, usefulness, practicality.

The traveler on the road to Jericho was surely in trouble. Robbed, beaten, and left for dead, he desperately needed some very present help.

He got it from an unexpected source...from one of "those people." Not the religious elite, who not only did not go out of their way to help him but who went out of their way, quite literally, NOT to help him.

But the Samaritan, reflecting a God Who went as far out of His way as it was possible to go to show His love for us, was a very present help.

The Samaritan was "very." He went beyond basic service, caring for the wounded traveler on the spot, taking him to an inn rather than just dropping him off in town where "someone else" could deal with him, paying for the innkeeper's services and putting no cap on incurred expenses but promising their repayment. 

The Samaritan was present. He could have just gone on ahead into town and sent someone to tend the man, but instead he got involved himself, offering physical touch and closeness. He spent time near a need. He interacted.

The Samaritan was a help. He didn't simply look at the man and tell him, "I'm sorry for your trouble." Nor did he throw money at him and leave the robbers' victim to figure out how to use it to help himself. The Samaritan showed himself useful. He offered practical care. He made a noticeable difference.

In this role of God and in this setting of it, I feel our Very Present Help pinging my mind and heart. How often do I offer something to someone just to ease my own guilt but fall far short of being a very present help? Maybe I do the bare minimum...and miss the "very." Maybe I offer help but in a distant, removed way that does not require me to get too near an uncomfortable situation...and miss the "present." Or maybe I offer a token so I can check someone's problem off my list...and miss the "help"?

Oh God, make me willing to go out of my way today and, when I get there, to be as You are: a very present help.

1 comment:

  1. I love the definitions of very, present and help.
    As a result I don’t think I’ll ever read that the same again. I hope sincerely to be that!


I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!