A disturbing story has been reported by “Mail Online”, the electronic version of “The Daily Mail”, a British tabloid. Simone Back, a 42- year-old charity worker who lived in England, posted a message on her FaceBook page on Christmas Day. The message said simply, “Took all my pills be dead soon so bye bye every one.”
I’ll confess my ignorance of FaceBook protocol, but the story said Ms. Back had 1,082 “friends”. Some of them lived within walking distance. Some commented on her statement within minutes of it being posted, mocking her for being a habitual overdoser and a liar. A day later someone notified Simone’s 60-year-old mother about the comments. This time, they learned, Simone had not lied.
Just because a person is listed as a friend on FaceBook doesn’t mean there’s a real relationship. It simply means access to one another’s messages has been granted. Yet it seems some of those who read the comments should have notified authorities.
Things like this happened before social networking arrived on our computers. People have issued calls for help, calls that fell on deaf ears. Others may think the pleas are exaggerated, insincere or merely attempts to gain attention and sympathy. They learn too late that the pleas were real. The person really was going through a crisis, and intervention was genuinely needed.
This is not a new problem for people. Proverbs 21:13 shows that calls for help have often been ignored: “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” The priest and the Levite in Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan show that people have long been capable of ignoring the plight of others who are in distress (Luke 10:25-37).
Could such a miserable scenario be in my future? If there comes a time when my life hangs in the balance, will others ignore my calls for help? Most importantly, would God refuse to help me?
Good news abounds in the Bible, and God’s willingness to help anyone leads the list. When a person submits to God’s simple will, God declares His gladness to help. James 4:10 is one such statement of this hope: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Many witnesses appear in the pages of Scripture to affirm that God has done just that. Take, for example, David’s deposition in Psalm 34:6: “This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” Jonah appealed to the Lord from inside a large fish: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me” (Jonah 2:2).
This doesn’t mean that God will give us what we ask for in our time of trouble. Consider what happened with God’s own Son: “Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear” (Hebrews 5:7). Some might say that God didn’t answer Jesus’ call for help; Jesus later died on the cross. But note again those words: “and was heard”. God hears His people, but He will do what is best for them, not necessarily what they think is best at the moment.
As a child of God, I can know that my calls for help will not be ignored! He knows best what I need.
Timothy D. Hall