Withholding God’s hand

Feb. 1, 2020

Scripture Readings

In one of today’s verses, we’re cautioned to “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.” This is convicting for me; the conditions have to be just right for me to help someone. For example, when I see someone stuck on the side of the road, I explain to God that I’m not the right guy to help. First, I don’t know cars. Second, it could be some elaborate scheme to take me and my beat-up truck hostage (granted, that’d be a legitimate concern for some folks, but one look at me or my truck, and you know I’m just making excuses). 

This is not only an act of selfishness on my part, but it literally truncates God’s help in someone’s life. I’m God’s hand, and I have held his hand back. He let our paths cross for a reason, but I was unwilling to see that reason fulfilled because I wanted to keep to my schedule.

The next sentence is even worse: “Don’t tell your neighbour ‘Maybe some other time’ or ‘Try me tomorrow’ when the money’s right there in your pocket.” Yikes. Not just time now, but money. My wife is always seeing neighbours in need. We wind up buying someone’s groceries, paying their rent, or giving them a ride because, thankfully, Bec is not as good at ignoring need as I am. We aren’t rich, but buying someone’s meal today doesn’t mean our kids starve tomorrow. As the verse says, the money is right there in our pockets. God put it there for us to be generous.

Look, I work in downtown Calgary, so I know that it is impractical/impossible to give either monetary or physical help to all. The need is literally endless. That said, the solution can’t be to do nothing. I give to Foothills, and thereby, inner city ministries, but the passage above does not lead me to believe that God’s saying, “Hey, Adam, just throw a bit of cash at it.” That’s not God.

Our God is a personal one. Jesus came so he could look into someone’s eyes as he heals them. That’s who God is, it’s who he wants me to be. It’s not in my nature to see someone in need of help and be Jesus for them. But this verse reminds me: Don’t hold back: be God’s hands.

Adam Schnell

Writer, friend, father and actor