A pastor friend of mine in Phnom Penh met me for lunch today. He and his family moved to Phnom Penh a few years ago. He was a missionary in Poland. I asked him if the people of Cambodia are more open to the Gospel than the Poles. “Absolutely”, he said. “Sometimes it takes years, in Poland, to reach one person. In Cambodia there is an openness–a hunger–to know the True and Living God”.
While the people here are happy and friendly, they are trapped spiritually in a miry pit. I shop at a little jewelry store when I am in Phnom Penh and the nice woman who runs it does not open until afternoon. I asked her what she does in the morning? She goes to pray to her dead ancestors. Trapped.
Travelling along the road this week we passed masses of people at a market, surrounded by flies, trash, the stench of decaying food, and noxious fumes from the hundreds of vehicles passing in front of the market. Today we drove alongside a putrid slough. It was the most disgusting sight I have seen in a while. A dark purplish, slimy, murkiness with a sheen of oily goop on the surface. Next to the slough were businesses and food vendors. Children played along the side of it. One young woman was preparing a meal on a bridge that crossed it.
The Slough of Despond in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress came to mind. In the story, Christian fell into a slough. He struggled and struggled but could not get out. He had such a heavy burden on his back and every time he tried to escape, his burden held him down. But a man came to him named Help:
Help: What are you doing in there?
Christian: I was trying to get to the Gate over there, but as I was going along I fell in.
Help: Why didn’t you look for the Steps that lead to the Gate?
Christian: I was afraid. I didn’t know what was inside the Gat. Fear caused me to run away from it and fell in this Slough.
Help: Give me your hand.
Christian gave him his hand and Help drew him out, set him on the Ground and told him to go on his way.
When a person is in a miry pit and in danger, he needs help to get out. Help comes from the Lord. He is mankind’s only hope. Psalm 40:1-2 says,
“I waited patiently for the Lord and he leaned toward me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of the horrible slough, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the rock and established by steps.”
The Gospel of Help that comes from the Lord is what will change a heart and The Gospel of Help is how we rock rescue those reaching for our hand.