Sometimes a verse of scripture just enters your heart for you to pray for a particular person or situation. For my best friend, Mary it was Mark 1:31. “So he (Jesus) went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them” was a verse she kept on praying for her Mother. She just wanted to tell Jesus her Mother was ill and ask Him to go to her, take her hand and help her up. All of her children so wanted her illness to leave her so she could begin to do all the things she normally did for the family. And perhaps you may understand that because she was a Mother… they wanted her to be able to begin to wait on them all again. Because that is precisely what she would have wanted to do. Imagine her surprise when she later read such similar words in Acts 3:7 - “Taking him by the right hand, he (Peter) helped him up”. Those words became so ingrained on her heart for several months, and she would not have realized how significant these words in Acts were but for those months of praying the same words over and over again from Mark. Then it struck her. If the Master, Jesus had put them into practice so had his servant, Peter. And I feel the Lord wants us to put them into practice too.
Read Mark 1:29-39
Jesus was our Master ~ Servant. Peter had been on an intensive training course learning from the Master how to do the stuff ~ A favorite Vineyard expression ~ John Wimber as a relatively new Christian asked when do we get to do the stuff he had been reading in the New Testament! (Not a question easily answered then or today by the way). Peter had seen Jesus heal the sick and perhaps more importantly the way Jesus did it. After all it was Peter’s mother~in~law that had been healed in Mark Chapter 1! You can then read how Peter does it just like he saw and heard Jesus in Acts 3:2. The apostles did the same things the Master did. They even used the same words. Jesus should be our teacher for the way we should be doing it too! But remember it took an outpouring of the Holy Spirit before these disciples were empowered and equipped to preach the gospel with signs and wonders.
You Help Them Up! - Shelia Walsh shared a word she once received from the Lord: “If I choose to heal them, I will. If not, I want them to go from your arms to mine, don’t drop them by the wayside”. Sometimes the Lord heals one person and another remains sick. We may not understand why but our job is to help that person up in every way we can, so that they do not feel a failure or discarded. One day we will live in a place where there is no more pain, no more tears but here it’s a different story. For those who are struggling with pain and illness, whether temporary or permanent lets be the loving strong arms of Jesus to help them up and carry them if necessary. Let’s not leave any of His sheep behind, by the wayside, to wander and roam.
Do You Need a Hand Up? ~ “What a Friend we have in Jesus” the Hymn says. “All our sins and griefs to bear”! If you have never accepted the hand of friendship that Jesus offers to you I urge you to stop and think today about the most important decision you will ever have to make. If you have Jesus you can know that He will never leave or forsake you, His strong arms will carry you through the darkest and stormy night. He just waits patiently for you to hold out your hand out to His. Anyone who comes to him will be accepted, and be given the real helping hand up they need. “And him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” John 6:37
We Need To Kneel and Help Them Up! If you read Acts 9:36 to 41 you will see Peter is at it again! There he is praying for Tabitha to get up. Even though she is dead! I can’t help but think the whole passage is identical to Jesus taking Jarius’s daughter by the hand and saying “My child, get up”. In Luke 8:54. Again we see Peter putting into practice the very things he witnessed Jesus do. But there is an interesting little addition. It says, “He got down on his knees and prayed”. You know we too have to get down on our knees so to speak and pray for those who desperately need help to get up. There is something about actually getting on our knees physically before a Holy God in prayer and intercession. In our closet is where we can speak to God about that person, their needs and gain an understanding and the faith to know and see what God wants to do. Don’t rule anything out ~ our God just loves to do the impossible!
Silver and Gold We Do Have! Unlike Peter we may have silver and gold ~ more’s the pity! I once read a novel by Elisabeth Elliot saying we often have the financial resources to help but really what we need ~ and more to the point what those we want to help need ~ is the miraculous power Peter had to heal that poor crippled man. Often our silver and gold is not the answer. It’s not what that person needs. We need heavenly resources not our silver and gold. If only we too could truthfully say, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk”.
They Can Be Heavy to Lift! I have to say it can be heavy work to help lift some people up, and indeed to keep them there! If you have ever seen a heavily pregnant cow helplessly laying on its side it often takes a team of people with very strong ropes all pulling in the same direction to lift that poor animal back on its feet. The similarities are all to clear! We also need to remember that in serving others we can easily become overwhelmed and tired. We need to make sure we spend time with God alone, receiving His strength and power. Amy Carmichael warned we should “Go gently, don’t work each day till you are unable to do one minute more. Leave a margin”. Sometimes all that is needed is a loving and strong hand to help someone over the difficult time they are going through. I remember reading a tribute to someone who just invited a lonely person to supper after an evening church service and made them a grilled cheese sandwich and opened a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup, provided a listening ear and words of comfort. It was all they needed. After all, to love other people is to help them stand on their own feet and enjoy watching them walk. To see them “walking and jumping, and Praising God”.
Both 2009 and 2011 were hard years for me. Yet, while going through this difficult time I felt God promise that help was on its way. And step~by~step thankfully it was. Whatever your situation today God can promise His help is on its way. We need hearts for God ~ and hands for others. We can all help someone up. It can often be the littlest of acts that transform someone’s life or situation. A smile, a phone call, a letter or gift. Give and do what you can. We can’t do it all. But with God working in us and through us we can make a difference. And with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we can be empowered to do the impossible!