Open your eyes! God’s help has been there all along
The help you need is right there, in front of your nose. But often we do not see it. Sometimes we need an eye-opener. Following are thoughts from a recent service by the Chief Apostle that are to help us sharpen our awareness.
A servant girl running from her mistress and a dying boy. This is the image that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider used to open his divine service in Lubango in Angola on 20 February 2016. Hagar was on the run from her mistress, Sarai, who was Abram’s wife. She and her son ran into the desert where they wandered about aimlessly. They ran out of water and the boy, who was Abram’s offspring, cried for thirst. “Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.” This verse from Genesis 21: 19 was the Bible text that the Chief Apostle based his sermon on.
Recognizing the help of God
“The well had been there all along, but in her despair she had just not seen it,” the Chief Apostle said. “Sometimes we are absolutely desperate and think, ‘God has forgotten me,’” he said and translated the biblical event into our time. “What do we do when this happens? We cry to God and tell Him, ‘Heavenly Father, I need your help.’”
“God hears such a call.” He responds in the divine services, the Chief Apostle explained. “Then He opens our eyes through the Holy Spirit and shows us the help that has been there all along.”
- The sacrifice of Jesus Christ: “It means that Jesus Christ loves you and wants to redeem you from the evil one. We may think that God has forgotten us. But God’s Son died for you and me.”
- God’s law and His word: “Those who live in accordance with the laws of God will be preserved from a lot of unnecessary evil. He gives us His word, and those who follow it can be sure that God will help them.”
- Over time: “Maybe nothing spectacular happens, but after a while we notice that God has helped us, very quietly. He was always there. May God always open our eyes so that we may recognize His help as it unfolds over time.”
- Through the neighbour: “Most of the time He sends other people to help us. May God open our eyes so that we can see His help in our neighbour.”
Grasping God’s help
But there is more to it than just recognizing His help, Chief Apostle Schneider said. We also have to grasp it. And how do we go about that?
- Taking strength from the sacrifice of Christ: “Our thankfulness to Jesus Christ and our love for Him are what motivates us in our battle against evil—and not because we want to be better than others or because we want a special reward.”
- Implementing God’s word: “He tells us something in every divine service and that is what we are supposed to do. Every time we manage to do this, we will have gained a victory.”
- Relying on the grace of the Lord: “He takes all the sin away, and it will be as though you had never done anything bad. We do not have to lug the burden of our guilt around with us.”
- Making use of the fellowship of God’s children: “In the congregations one needs the other in order to make progress and make our way toward the Lord.”
The Chief Apostle’s summary: “God will open our eyes, show us His help, and tell us, ‘Now get up!’ just as He told Hagar.”