Help in our time of need

Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. – Psalm 6:4

Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. – Matthew 9:22

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This beautifully-colored flower was growing in California when I took its photo. © 2009

I have seldom felt as though my life was in imminent danger. But one time sticks out vividly. I was a Boy Scout camp and working on a canoeing merit badge. One requirement was to jump off the canoe into the lake, take off your shirt, and make it into a flotation device. No problem: I was actually a fairly decent swimmer, so in I went. Only there was a problem: I got my shirt about 1/2 up over my head and it got stuck! I couldn’t breath, and I was very near panic in water over my head. Fortunately, however, with one final tug I was able to get the shirt off and made into an inflated flotation device. But I remember that moment of terror when I was not sure how to extricate myself.

Imagine that rather than a fleeting moment of panic you had a 12 year chronic illness. Imagine rather than panic the slow death of hope, resignation to a life of one dreaded heart beat after another – wondering if you would ever feel better. No energy. No fun. No close relationships. No one paying you any attention – except to avoid you if at all possible.

Then Jesus comes to town, and he turns and looks at you. Jesus doesn’t avoid you. He doesn’t dismiss you. He doesn’t even tell you to wait till he’s finished with his initial healing errand, heading off to the ruler’s house. Jesus turns and sees you. He sees you.

God is everywhere. Yet he may be found in Jesus of Nazareth, and in his particular healing moment, he has turned to see someone in need, and someone who has faith. God can see everything at all times. His eye is on the sparrow. But sometimes he turns toward those in need, and delivers us.

So often it is we who need to turn to God. We sin. We wander. We forget. We rebel. When we turn back to God in repentant faith, we discover that he has his eye on us and is ready to help us as well. In the mean time – whether in a state of chronic need, or a sudden acute moment of urgent desperation – pray that God will look to you, deliver and save you. He does that because of his steadfast love.

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