Upholding the Fallen

Reading: Psalm 145
In 1959, Billy Graham conducted his first evangelistic campaign in Brisbane - starting in the Milton Tennis Courts and moving into the Exhibition Ground. I sang in the choir. It was an amazing time. Doors were open. It seemed possible to talk to almost anyone about Jesus.

A group of us, keen to encourage people to attend, went around King George Square and the inner city, talking to as many as we could. I donít recall even one knock-back. But I do remember Frank. Frank was an alchoholic. Totally unskilled in dealing with his dependency, we reached out with Christian love - arranged accommodation, put him in touch with Alcoholics Anonymous and kept in contact over a number of months.

I recall one Sunday night. Frank had planned to come to church. It was the anniversary of his sonís death. He had a clean shirt ready to wear, but someone pinched it. By the time we found him, he had been on the metho and was in a bad way.

I donít know the end of the story. We were students and returned home at the end of the year and lost contact. Though naïve and inexperienced, our motivation was right - as was our conviction that this man needed more than human help.

In Psalm 145, David expresses praise to "God the King." His greatness is visible in his "mighty," "wonderful" and "awesome" deeds. But especially, "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made" (vv. 8-9). God isnít just majestic and powerful - he is "gracious and compassionate." It is always a matter of amazement that the Creator and Lord of the whole universe should love even you and me, should hear even our prayers.

In the midst of celebrating the Lordís faithfulness and lord, David says, "The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down" (v. 14).

The reality is that people do fall, that they are bowed down. But the truth is also that "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut. 33.27). None - not anyone - need fall further than the Lordís everlasting arms.

Some are too proud to receive the Lordís help. Others, like Frank, are just so broken, almost too broken even to ask.

Yet the promise and help are at hand. Perhaps in our innocence, we knew more about Frankís need than we realised - perhaps even more than some of the experts. There are times when we need to representatives of Godís grace and compassion to people in need - upholding them, lifting them up so that they will know the Lordís help which is beyond anything we can offer.

Prayer: We exalt you, our God and King. We praise your name for ever and ever. We acknowledge your majesty and love. You uphold us when we fall and lift us up when we are bowed down. Hear us as we pray for others in need - for all who are hurting and broken, who are despairing and hopeless. Especially we pray for those who donít know or havenít understood your ever-present help. Enable us to uphold them, to lift them up so that they can receive from you the help that only you can give. We pray this in Jesusí name, Amen.

Held Safe

Since ever
Eve and Adam
ate forbidden fruit,
the path
for humankind
has been
rough
and stony.
Since ever
they fell,
we have
stumbled
and fallen.

The hand of God
has beckoned
and pointed
and called
and invited
to hold
and uplift,
to forgive
and to comfort,
to restore
and to heal.

"Underneath
are the everlasting arms."

None
need fall further
than those everlasting arms
of God.


© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin BlueCare Devotions, 2 July 2002.
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1984.

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