Today our second daughter had her follow-up appointment with her surgeon after her double ankle surgery. She has been in two protective ‘moon boots” to support her ankles whilst recuperating but is finally able to walk without them. Moon boots by nature are cumbersome, look interesting and are not designed for running around in. They are instead made to give support and hold things together whilst the foot is mending.
Needing something or someone to hold things together is what most of us need from time to time in life. We need held together when we experience pain, disappointment, hurt or just feel exhausted and battered about.
God knows all about everything we go through in life and the times when we need help, and tells us that when we are feeling that way that we can, “…approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
While the terms have similar meanings, grace and mercy are not the same. To summarize the difference: mercy is God not giving us what we deserve because of our sin, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. No matter what we have done God promises that when we come to Him he will be merciful even though we don’t deserve it, and that His grace will give to us abundantly. He says because of His grace and mercy that we are able to come boldly to Him knowing that He is going to be there for us, and that He won’t fail us in our hour of need.
When Paul wrote that we could approach God boldly for His grace, mercy and help he was talking about help in the midst of a life-threatening storm. He chose to use the unusual word for “help” being boethia in greek, which is an ancient nautical term.
The definition of boetheia is aid; specially, a rope or chain for frapping a vessel:
frap – nautical term; to bind or wrap tightly with ropes or chains.
Frapping is a tactic sailors used when a ship was being beaten by a storm and threatened to be broken apart. They would take ropes or chains and literally wrap the boat with these bands to strengthen the vessel. This would hold the wooden ship together against the pounding of the waves.
Paul was trying to tell us that we could be ‘frapped’; held together or helped by the strongest cords of all. We are held by the bonds of God’s love. Nothing can destroy us when God has hold of us and we have approached Him boldly because of His grace and mercy and then allow Him to hold us together – and be “helped” by God.
Today whatever you may be going through God wants you to come to Him, and to come boldly and confidently knowing that you will receive all that you need to help you keep moving forward and to overcome any difficulty and circumstance. Come to Him “with confidence and draw near to the throne of grace, that you may receive mercy and find grace to help in your time of need.” (Heb 4:16).
“For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”. (Colossians 1:17)
Prayer: Lord I’m asking to your help today, knowing that you promise to extend your grace and mercy towards me when I come to you. Please hold me together in your love today. In Jesus name Amen.