“How blessed is he who considers the helpless.” Psalm 41:1 (NAS)
Do you remember as a child getting stuck in mud that completely covered your rain boots? You couldn’t move until someone bigger and stronger came along to pull you up and out. The problem was that your boots remained, and soon they disappeared in the muck and mire! On a more serious note, there are real life stories and examples of people who get stuck in mud, muck or quicksand, and their movement is impeded and they are rendered paralyzed. Often, without intervention, the person who is stuck may suffer from dehydration, hypothermia, or even drowning, if they are where high tides may arise. The key to their rescue is that someone on firm ground has to intervene, break the grip of the suction and then pull them to safety.
In Jeremiah 38, we find Jeremiah in a similar situation. Simon Whitton describes Jeremiah’s situation for us in his devotional “Stuck in the Mud.” He writes, “Jeremiah had been lowered into a cistern which had no water, only mud and he then sank down into the mud. Jerusalem’s cisterns had stone or wood covers which isolated Jeremiah in the dark. Cut off from the world and sunk into the mud, he was powerless to help himself and he was in great peril.” In verses 7 and 8 we meet Ebed-melech who becomes aware of Jeremiah’s grave circumstances and pleads his case before the king. The king then orders him to take men and lift Jeremiah out before he dies. They pulled him up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. Whitton goes on and writes,”Ebed-melech understood that we have a God-given responsibility to help those in trouble and he went about it with kindness and compassion.” Ebed-Melech was also a great example of being pro-active and taking the initiative to intervene on another’s behalf.
Many who struggle with difficult life situations often describe similar feelings of being stuck, trapped or going under. There is the sensation of being helpless and unable to move. Their emotional distress may feel suffocating, like pressure on every side or like a heavy weight on their chest. For some, their experience feels like they are desperately reaching up for help and no one is there. Deidre Blair writes in her poem titled Quicksand, “Slowly sinking in this thick mass of sand, being still, I reach up for someone to give me a hand. As I reach up, no one is there that I see. I can’t seem to get out of this mess for the life of me.”
Are we aware of those all around us whose overwhelming circumstances make them feel as though they are going under and desperately need outside help and intervention? Who are the ones, like Jeremiah, all alone in the dark that feel isolated, cut off from the world, powerless and in great peril? These are the ones who need action rather than just an acknowledgement of their needs.
“The blessedness comes in the doing not in the knowing. Not even in the hearing, not in the watching but in the doing.” ~ David Jeremiah
Reflections on FEELING STUCK
If we live long enough, we will, at some point, feel overwhelmed and like we are stuck in quicksand with no way out unless someone rescues us. When life is overwhelming to us from all angles, we expect those who claim to love us to have compassion and understanding and to Do something to help us. However, when we are placed in the other person’s position, the one whose help is needed, we tend to be like the Levite and the priest who preceded the Good Samaritan in that story Jesus told in Luke 10:30-37. We want someone else to do it. We look the other way and try to pretend that we did not see that need…did not feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to intervene and help pull them out of that pit. We try…but the urge is still there…the nudge in our heart that feels like someone is pounding a drill into the depths of our spirit, piercing us with the need we have seen.
When are we going to realize that each of us who knows the Lord as personal Savior and Redeemer is called to reach out to those in need? It is a universal call to followers of Christ to help each other. (Galatians 6:1) We are called to reach into the pit to help pull people from its tentacles of darkness. We are called to help lift each other up. We are reminded by Scripture and by life itself that, but for the grace of God at this particular point in time, we would be the one reaching up for help instead of the one who is being called to reach down and be the hand of Jesus in whichever situation we find ourselves.
May we allow the Holy Spirit to compel us to reach down and in to those who are desperate for a helping hand. Lord, help us to listen and not turn away from a friend in need.
Prayer for the hurting person:
Help this one who feels alone and deserted in the darkness to feel Your presence there. Help her to hold on until someone responds to Your call to help lift her up and out of the cistern of life’s trials. Help her to remember times in the past that You have rescued her before. Love her in a real and tangible way while she waits for help.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Prayer for the helper:
Help me not to bypass another hurting person that You have placed in my path without stopping to help them. Give me Your heart and Your burden for those in need. Love them through me. Keep speaking to my heart until I understand that it is You speaking and that You are calling me to serve You by serving her.
In Jesus name, Amen.