“How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you” Isaiah 30:19
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the story my son told me about taking his family to see the stage production of The Lion King. A good time was being had by all until the play turned to the point in the story where the young lion, Simba, wandered into the dangerous valley and right into the trap of his evil uncle, Scar. The plot goes like this.
In order to usurp the kingdom from his brother Mufasa, Simba’s Dad, Scar arranged for a group of hyenas to chase the wildebeest into a stampede that would endanger little Simba and lure his father, Mufasa, to the rescue. At which point Scar would kill Mufasa and begin to rule as king. After the stampede ended, little Simba looked up, all alone, to see his father lying dead on the ground. In the quietness of that moment, with the dust and smoke still swirling on stage, little Simba began to cry, “Help, help, help!” It was at that point in the hushed theater that my three-year-old grandson stood up on his chair and shouted, “Why doesn’t somebody help him?!”
It’s a reminder of a sobering truth. Each day, scores of people within the reach of our resources are hurting and desperately in need of someone to rush the stage of their life and help them. And here is the issue for us: Will we just sit by and watch like detached observers in comfortable theater seats? Or will we get engaged and do something about it? We are called to be the extension of the hand of God to the needy and helpless that are within our reach.
The Old Testament is filled with accounts of God’s people crying out for help. Although their trouble was often self-imposed due to the waywardness from God, I’m amazed by the fact that He was still eager to come to their aid. In the midst of a lot of self-inflicted bad news brought by the prophet Isaiah, he assured the people that “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. . . . How gracious He will be when you cry for help!” (Isaiah 30:18-19).
What great news, and better news yet is that God’s ultimate act of grace and compassion came in human flesh, in the person of Jesus. It was His nail-pierced, bleeding hands that redeemed us from our self-inflicted desperate situation once and for all. At the cross, Jesus took the heart of God into His own hands.
And now, as recipients of His grace, we can do no less for others who are in need. Listen for that cry of help, rush the stage of their need, and let God extend His compassion through your helping hand today.
- For the believer, God has canceled hell and guaranteed heaven. In what other ways does God “rise to show compassion”? How have you experienced this truth in your life? Be specific, and try to think of at least one occasion when His grace was made evident to you.
- Recall a time when you needed someone’s help. Did the person respond to your crisis? If not, how did it make you feel? If so, what do you think would have happened without that person’s help?
- Are you willing to take the heart of Jesus into your world? Read Isaiah 58:5-12; Matthew 25:31-40; and Colossians 3:12. Then ask God to show you who needs His touch through you today.
- Is there a local ministry where you can assist in bringing the hope and healing of Jesus to those around you?