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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)

TITLE: The Helping Hand of God
By Steve Clark


I need help.

Years of blindly marching to the very doorstep of Hell has left me in the dark and now tilts me toward a horrible demise, but my immortal destiny is not yet decided. Holding out hope for a rescue on the morrow’s pending dawn, seeking the help of the Morning Star, I stand in the shame of my life, wondering what to do.

For years
God has been knocking on my door, wanting to come in and shed His loving light within me; filling me with hope and promise.

For years
He has hovered above me with outstretched hand as the sewer’s eddy spun me, threatening to pull me under like it has so many others.

For years
He has whispered for my heart to see who He truly is so I may accept Him, and yet I refuse.

If He really knew me; if He really knew what I was capable of… if He knew all the things I have done, He wouldn’t get so close; He wouldn’t risk getting dirty from the filth that covers me. If He is as wise as they say He is, He wouldn’t waste His time on someone like me.

Yet, He persists. He remains at the tip of my fingers awaiting my slightest invitation. If only I could clean myself up and save Him from my sins, but I can’t.

We deceive everyone, and ourselves,
Behind veils born of vanity.
And long to leave on dusty shelves
The shame of our calamity.

For years
Jesus has pursued me with promises of His helping hand, but I hesitate. I trusted others who said they would help and didn’t. (The disappointment still aches deep within.) Some wanted to, and even tried, but the job was too big. Others said they would help, but then walked away before I consented. Sure, I'd like to find someone who cares enough to help me, but who?

Alone we go, to stand and fall,
From first of life to last,
Yet find no one to love our all
Despite the hooks we cast.

For years
I have heard great stories of how Jesus helped others, but they were better people than me. Their troubles were not as deep and rotten as mine. Helping them was easy. Surely, once He sees the entirety of my troubles He will turn away. There’s no way He could love me enough. It isn’t possible.

I have seen what love looks like. My parents said they loved me, but even their love couldn’t save me from these stains of sin. I mean… c’mon, how far would Christ go to love a loser like me?

We long for the touch of another’s grace,
But, still refuse to see
God’s way of love; to take our place,
And die upon the tree.


Today is different. I struggle to breathe as anticipation weighs heavy on me. Though my reticence lingers, I am ready to trust Him. Today I am finally ready to extend my hand and take His, in hope of receiving His help.

Oh, how I tremble.

My flesh, yearning to avoid a secondary role, shudders as I draw closer to Christ.
My accumulated sin, fearing eternal destruction, roars its disapproval of my intent.
My reckless will, admitting its inferiority, humbly submits to Christ’s superiority.
My heart, longing to be clean and refreshed, tingles with anticipation.
My mind, racing with hope and wonder, accepts as truth His promise to help despite the mystery of each hour to come.

Then it happens. With the slightest permission, the boundary I have maintained vanishes and Christ rushes in. In an instant I am taken from my stench-filled darkness and washed clean; showered in His light; the fire of the Holy Spirit burning all sin from my mind, my body, and my will.

In an instant
I know His heart.
I know Him and know that He knows me.
He does love me that much!

My knees buckle at the enormity of His grace.

I weep.

I have been renewed and made clean. It is so real and complete!

How is this possible?

Why did I wait so long?

Who cares?!

All that matters is that He is in me and I am in Him. I have been adopted by God! We are merged. We are one ...for eternity.

And that is ALL that matters.

Talk about a helping hand...

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Member Comments
Member Date
Val Clark02/28/06
Such accurate and strong poetic images, I am breathless with taking them all in. Love: We deceive everyone, and ourselves,/Behind veils born of vanity./And long to leave on dusty shelves/The shame of our calamity. The informal prose contrasts with the formal poetry, underpinning their intent. What a wonder that moment is when we finally accept the outstretched helping hand of God! PM you later, Yeggy
janet rubin02/28/06
"If only I could clean myself up and save Him from my sin.." I think that touches the heart in many of us. It's so hard to admit our complete helplessness, our inability to save ourselves and just surrender. You captured the experience well.
Beth Muehlhausen02/28/06
Loved your descriptions - expressing the deep experience of sin and of salvation. And yet, this is touchable and not intellectualized! Liked this line, which brought the whole discussion down to the bottom line: "I mean… c’mon, how far would Christ go to love a loser like me?"

Lots of "favorite" sections, but enjoyed this one: "My flesh... My accumulated sin...My reckless will...My heart...My mind..." A very holistic commentary. :-)

I almost think the end could have stopped right here: "My knees buckle at the enormity of His grace. I weep." I didn't need the final commentary after that emotional punch. :-)

This leaves me wondering about the call of Christ - "today." Is today, this day, "different" for me, as I follow Him beyond some stronghold? I want to think so.....

Julia May03/01/06
This is awesome. You captured the feelings of struggling inside ourselves so well. Then the glorious salvation experience. This deserves a win. Keep writing.
Jeff Ford03/01/06
Just wanted to echo Beth's advice; that is, I think you would have rendered the "experience" (conversion) more power if you had ended it sooner.The line/ My knees buckle at the enormity of His grace / provides such touching imagery that the weeping would have been implicit in the statement. A moving account, though, for sure.
Jan Ackerson 03/03/06
Beautiful writing, a skillful combination of poetry and prose, each more well-crafted than the other! You do well with the present tense; not many can pull that off. Marvelous.