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Help in Disguise

The scalpel, cod liver oil and discipline are examples of the many things in life undesirable and hard to take but which are there usually for our good.

It will not suffice to judge good and bad by our own understanding which is “understanding.” We can tell nothing by appearance. So our selfishness is removed by trials and tribulations, fires that purge us of pride, self-sufficiency and arrogance in which we think we know what is best for us.

 

There come times when we are troubled

And in that trouble we have nowhere to turn it seems.

At such a time of desperation we cry out for help.

Somehow, having asked for help before,

We receive no reply.

But our cry must be loud enough and earnest enough to be heard.

 

“Prince Valiant, Prince Majesty, come to my aid;

Only you can save me now.

I’ve waited too long and now I must turn

To such as yourself for deliverance.

Oh! But I need a miracle!

I need a shining light,

The sound of thunder and a shaking of earth;

No less will do for me now!

A chariot of God; to take me up

Leaving my enemies far below.

 

Who is this man I wait for?

A man in shining armour,

Fitted from head to toe;

With perfect knowledge, power and wisdom,

Compassion with overflow;

A flaming sword in his hand,

Magnificent shield in arm;

There is no standing up to him…

Invincible is his name.

 

Who is it I hear knocking at the door?

Another enemy? Is it more trouble?”

I view through the peephole an unpleasant spectacle…

I’m not at all amused.

‘What is it?’ I ask in an impatient voice.

‘Why do you bother me now?

Can’t you see I’m in trouble enough?

Besides, I’m expecting a welcome guest.'”

 

“I heard of your trouble” the man replied,

In not too impressive a tone.

“I came if perhaps I could help you out

And I’m glad I found you at home.”

 

Incredulous, I gasped in utter dismay!

“You?!” I spluttered out.

“What height of presumption and lunacy

Can possibly cause you to speak?!

Just look at you now, as ugly as sin,

Your clothes are ragged and worn;

Your face isn’t beaming – you have no horse;

Don’t you think it was wrong to be born?

I’m looking for someone strong and great!

Who else can get me out of this mess?

If you can possibly help carry water or cut wood,

Go to him that needs it.”

 

“I admit” the stranger replied, “I’m not a pretty sight

But my credentials are not my looks.

If you really believe that sight is right,

You have no hope at all.”

 

“I know what I need and I know what I want

And the likes of yourself won’t change that,” I said.

“I’ll thank you to remove yourself from my land

And go back where you came from…

If they’ll have you!”

 

With that I cursed him to his face

And cursed my circumstances

That instead of a hero to help in great need,

I received a bothersome twit.

 

Back to his base returned the stranger

And went directly to the stable.

He unsaddled the steed and gave him to eat

The finest oats in the land.

Servants attended, removing his armour,

Preparing him for the King.

He bathed and groomed and dressed himself

In the aftermath of his battle and journey.

 

“Prince Valiant, Prince Majesty, noble and true,

How did you fare with the man who cried,

With the man who asked help in his trouble?”

 

“My Lord,” he replied to his honoured King,

“The cry was not from the heart of hearts.

I came with my horse and armour,

In magnificent array as You sent me

But he could not see clearly through his peephole,

Blinded by the deeds of his heart.

He thought he saw a beggar,

A man more wretched than he, and

He refused to grant me entrance,

Commanding I get off his land.”

 

“Be at peace, My son, It isn’t your fault.

The time is not yet ripe.

But sending you, he’ll one day know

That he was not without help.

And when the time does come

That he’ll be respectful to you,

Then that will end all his troubles for,

He’ll be respectful to Me.”

 

Lethbridge, 1984

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