Note: This blog is part of a Thanksgiving series of blogs highlighting attributes of God for which I am thankful.
Over ten years ago, my cousin Jonathan was rushed to the Children’s Hospital in Chicago where his life lay in the balance. Of course, his family as well as our entire extended family was deeply concerned. Even as the doctors studied to diagnose and treat the infection, they warned the family of the seriousness of his condition.
Meanwhile, my uncle and aunt were juggling time in the hospital, time at home with the other seven children (who were all too young to be allowed in the room), multiple jobs, and paper routes. For one week of this time, I was able to travel to their home and relieve my aunt and uncle of home duties as well as a precious few of the job duties. My cousins and I made lots of memories that week…most of which I sincerely hope they won’t share. (That includes the “gooky” cereal, Kirsten! :))
But one moment took place which I will never forget.
To be quite honest, I was overwhelmed that week. It wasn’t like I had the responsibility of seven young charges every day—and in an unfamiliar routine at that. My cousins are dear, very dear. But they were quite young; and well, I didn’t want them to know it…but just between you and me, I was reduced to tears more than once that week. And to add pressure to pressure, less than twenty-four hours before I made the trip to their home, I had committed to begin a brand new magazine—written, laid out, and printed—within six weeks. And then, of course, we were all very concerned for Jonathan. Needless to say, I did a lot of claiming God’s promises.
One morning in particular, I remember reading Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Like a flashback, my mind went back to the day before when I had instructed a certain young cousin to clean her room. In the absence of motherly direction, the room had become a true wreck.
A look of sheer impossibility overtook her countenance. But when I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll help you,” her expression changed radically. (When you are a child, having the promise of an adult’s help in cleaning is a virtual ticket to backwards slave labor. All you have to do is make occasional motions of involvement while the adult does all the work. I won’t tell you how I know this is true, but it might be from the earlier, devious days of my youth.)
As I sat at the kitchen table the next morning and read the words in Isaiah, “I will help thee,” I pictured my cousin’s change of expression when I had spoken those same words to her. And it gave me hope and courage for the day ahead.
In fact, almost every time I read this verse now, I remember that moment. “Don’t worry; I’ll help you.” And the surety of having a capable, committed Helper brings fresh hope to my soul.
I’m thankful God is my helper. I’m thankful that He is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).