A Cry for Help

Today we start a new Reach Out month with a great post by Ada Brownell. As I read her story, I was reminded of all the ways God cares for us. Sending someone to help just when we need it, prompting someone to call or send us a card. And I imagine for most of us, there’s been many times when we’ve been on the other end–sensing God’s nudging, telling us to reach out to one of His children. Sometimes that may mean sending a letter or offering a hug. Other times, the moment might be a bit more serious.

A CRY FOR HELP By Ada Brownell

The phone rang.

When I answered, a woman’s voice explained the elderly widower, John, who lives across the street, punched the emergency gadget around his neck to summon help. Since we signed up to take calls, she phoned us.

“Could you please check on him and see if he is O.K.?” she asked.

Quickly I phoned my husband, who had gone to the store, and then ran over to the tri-level where John lives. The garage door was upon, so I barreled through, side-stepping a crimson pool about the size of a cake plate. There sat the old white-haired man on a white plastic lawn chair in the back of the garage, his face covered with blood.

“The emergency service called,” I explained. “What happened?”

“I fell. Passed out. So I called an ambulance.”

Stepping closer, I listened for sirens and heard none. I talked to him about the event, explaining that my husband, Les, was on his way to help.

“Would you like me to pray for you while they’re coming?” I asked. I had prayed with him before.

“Yes,” he said, his bloodshot eyes looking up at me. And then with slightly slurred speech he added, “I need all the prayer I can get.”

I prayed, and he seemed comforted.

Still no sirens. We live close to the hospital, so I have heard them by now, but nothing. He leaned forward. His eyes closed, and then he slipped down and started to tumble to the floor. I grabbed him, but the weight to keep him from dropping to the concrete was almost too much for me.

Then the old man roused, and seemed all right for a few minutes. Les arrived just in time to help when the gentleman passed out again. Les helped me hold the man in the chair.

“Go inside and get a cold rag to put on his head,” Les said.

I’m not one to barge into someone’s home uninvited, but I went, all the time wishing I had grabbed plastic gloves before I left home. Working as a medical reporter and after being in and around hospitals often I knew exposing yourself to blood is risky. I worried most about hepatitis.

After opening several cabinets in the utility room, I found some rags, chose one, wet it in the nearby sink and ran back out and held the cool cloth to our neighbor’s forehead.

“Thank you,” he said, seeming to be more alert.

The cloth warmed next to his skin as I held it. He seemed aware of the blood all over his face, apparently from a bloody nose. I thought of who he was in his prime, a former air traffic controller, probably quite dignified and different from the frail, shuffling man with the bulbous nose we knew now.

I turned the cloth and then used it to wipe the blood off his face. The white fabric was red now against my bare hand, but as I prayed for him it was as if I were doing the deed as an extension of the arm of Jesus, but also as a “cup of water in His name.” After all, I am a Christian and carry His name.

Les had called our neighbor’s son at work and he arrived soon and took his dad to the hospital, because the ambulance never came. The old man had misunderstood and thought when he pressed the emergency caller around his neck that he’d called an ambulance.

A few days later, he had a pacemaker surgically inserted into his heart and now is doing better.

God gave me peace about using my bare hands to wipe away blood, although I imagine if it occurred again, I’d grab plastic gloves we keep around and use when we paint.

I’ve said over and over during my life that I’m not the “nurse” type of individual, except with family. Yet, it seems the Lord doesn’t worry too much about our specialties when he needs someone.

That’s the way it seems my work for the Lord goes. Although many people are more qualified, God needs somebody at the moment, and I’m available.

Most days there is no crisis, but John is lonely. When we have dessert or I cook too much food, I share with John. When I go outside and he’s out, I visit with him a while. It’s really not much, but I’m rewarded with his and the Lord’s gratitude.

Ada Brownell is the author of Swallowed by LIFE Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal

A retired medical journalist asks, “Do you know evidence shows we’re more than a physical body?” The book speaks about this mystery and the evidence; the wonder of life with all its electrical systems; the awesome truth about cell death and regeneration; brain death; mysteries surrounding the change from mortal to immortal; where we go when our body dies; resurrection; and a glimpse at what we will do in heaven. Questions and answers make this a great book for group study.

Ada Brownell spent 17 years as a daily newspaper reporter and has written for Christian publications since age 16. Her published writing includes two books, Swallowed by LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal http://amzn.to/Jnc1rW, and Confessions of a Pentecostal, out of print but now available for Kindle http://buff.ly/KmLPMi

Ada still writes op-ed pieces for newspapers; has more than 275 articles and stories in Christian publications; chapters in several books, including “50 Tough Questions” (Gospel Publishing House). Website/blog: www.inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com.


I want to give a shout-out to September’s Reach Out Donors:

Simple Faith by Eddie Snipesthe Road to Mercy by Kathy HarrisThe Other Side of Darkness by Linda Rondeau, and Love Turns the Tide by Gail Pallotta. Kathy Harris, is also donating Karyn Williams’ musical CD entitled Only You.

There’s a song I love that says, “I will go.” I often pray that God helps me live those words out because honestly, I recognize my frequent tendency to stay. This post reminded me never to take God’s nudges lightly because truly, we don’t know what He’s calling us to until we get there.

What about you? When have you felt God nudge you to do something and later found out it the event was a bigger deal than you’d expected? Or when has God sent someone to you at that perfect time? Tell us about it.


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