When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me
But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. (Lk 24:29)
Luke 24:29 is the verse that inspired this hymn, Abide with Me. Two of Jesus’ disciples are walking along the road to Emmaus trying to reconcile what they knew from the Scriptures with current events. Jesus had died and risen from the grave, but they didn’t know where He was; they felt lost, helpless as they searched for answers. Jesus came alongside them explaining the Scriptures, but He did not reveal Himself to them. As evening approached, the disciples hungered for more from this stranger. They implored Him to stay with them and continue the conversation. Recognizing the sincerity of their request, Jesus accepted the invitation. At supper, He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them—and vanished. Now their eyes were opened. They recognized Jesus. He had clarified the Scriptures to them, making Himself known by them at His table. Then He disappeared.
A common scenario for the believer—attempting to understand our current situation in light of God’s Word and coming up with nothing. God has promised one thing in His Word, yet everything around us seems to contradict it. Often, talking with friends and listening to powerful sermons leaves us unsatisfied, void of answers. If we follow the disciples’ example, hungering for Jesus, He will reveal Himself to us when we partake of His broken body in Spirit and in truth. We will recognize who He is, and He will give us understanding. He will provide us with short glimpses of Himself—often in unexpected ways at unexpected times. When He does, it is good to receive His words and rearrange our life accordingly.
When we sincerely hunger for Jesus, He will abide with us, transforming our very being into His image. Just as the vine is nourished, supported, and fed by its unseen roots, so are we by our unseen devotion to God, feeding on His Word so we might live our life today, tomorrow, in all seasons, even into our last days, rooted and grounded in Jesus and His Word. What are you seeking God’s answers to today? Be persistent. Be patient. Be quiet. Even the most anointed preacher cannot do what Jesus can when He blesses you by giving you His broken body. Take it and eat. Continue to pursue His answers that you might more readily hear His tender voice. Remember, “When other helpers fail and comforts flee. Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.”