by Maria Rudolph
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The men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them (Genesis 19:16).
To be part of a stampede must be a petrifying experience. There was a recent report in the news of a hip-hop concert where several people in the crowd were crushed to death when the 50,000 people present suddenly surged forward. People felt crushed and suffocated because there were so many bodies pushed up against them. They were not even able to lift up their arms. Can you imagine what a relief it would be if someone was able to simply lift you out of that oppressive situation immediately?
While you may not have had to experience a stampede, situations we are faced with in life can feel much the same way. All of a sudden, your equilibrium is disturbed, and you are gasping for air. Something weighs heavily on you, and you can join with the words of the psalmist: ‘I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart’ (Psalm 38:8).
But God is never distant. Today, we witness God working through angels to keep Lot safe. Lot had been living in the city of Sodom, which, together with Gomorrah, had become completely corrupt and evil. It would have been a harsh environment to exist in as a God-fearing family, and yet once a place becomes home, changing everything by moving to a new one becomes daunting. God warns Lot through his angels that he will bring judgement on the cities and that Lot and his family need to get out immediately to be safe. But Lot hesitates. There is a lot at stake here. Should he really leave all his belongings behind and take a leap of faith into the unknown with God? But God doesn’t hesitate. The angel grasped his hand and the hands of Lot’s loved ones and led them safely out of the city.
Our cry of anguish is also heard by God: ‘All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you’ (Psalm 38:9). ‘The Lord heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:3). The helping hand of God is there in your life too. Can you see it? Who are the angels God has placed around you to sustain you in your time of need? Some may be visible, and others are invisible. God is here to pull you up with his love, grace and forgiveness, even if you can’t even muster the strength to lift your own arm up and meet his helping hand halfway. God goes all the way for you.
What does a helping hand look like for you?
Almighty God, you are the helping hand that is always there to pull me up when I am drowning in the storms of life. Thank you for sending angels who bear me up on their hands, even when I don’t notice. Your provision and care are unfathomable, and I am so thankful. Use me with all my imperfections and limitations to be your helping hand to someone else this week. In Jesus’ name. Amen.