[#pictureLent] April 5: HELP

By Rachael Jordan
First UMC and Grace UMC
Massena, NY

First, read Psalm 118:10-14

I remember this time as a child when my brother thought it would be a wise choice to take down a giant wasp nest with every soccer ball and basketball we had in our possession. We figured we’d hit the target at some point even standing what we thought was a safe distance away.

As we kept missing though, we kept creeping closer and closer until WHAM! We hit that nest after already making those wasps genuinely angry and I’m sure you know what happened next. We RAN like you know what!!! 

So when I read Psalm 118:12, “they surrounded me like bees,” I couldn’t help but remember running as fast as our little legs could go screaming at the tops of our lungs, “HEEEEEELLLLLPP!!!” Thankfully none of us ended up stung or hurt in any major way but it did alert our mother inside to come out and give us quite the scolding that we definitely deserved. 

What I like the most about Psalm 118:10-14 is that it is book-ended on either side with declarations of God’s greatness, “His steadfast love endures forever,” and “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” Yet, the essence of these 5 verses themselves focus on one being surrounded by the nations, or perhaps difficult people, difficult circumstances, or difficult anything! This psalmist is clearly overwhelmed by whatever or whoever is surrounding him and these issues just keep coming over and over again. What is clear is that the psalmist is countering and overcoming these issues as they arise, saying, “in the name of the Lord, I cut them off!” 

The cry for help, though, comes in verse 13 when whatever is assailing the psalmist hits its peak, when the wasps are chasing and “I was pushed hard, so that I was falling.” Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore? Have you ever been at the end of the road, the end of the line, the bitter end, bottom of the barrel, washed up, tired of keeping on keeping on, so much to do that you don’t want to do anything, and you just want to scream, “HEEEEEELLLLLPP?”

We become so overwhelmed that our legs stop holding us up anymore and we collapse before the cross. Resonating in the back of our minds are those words we’ve heard a thousand times whether we believe them in that moment or not, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Verse 14 says, “The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.” In those moments at the bitter end when we just can’t do “it” anymore (whatever “it” is), our strength can be found in the Lord’s, which has the power to hold us up and keep us moving. Thanks be to God!

Discussion/Reflection Questions: 

1. What was (or is) that most overwhelming moment in your life when you had no other choice but to rely on God for your source of strength? 
2. How did you cope with it? 
3. How can you help others to realize “the Lord is [their] strength and [their] might?”