In the Nick of Time

“Let us then 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 NIV

My three-year-old son, Zack, never even saw the eighteen wheeler. He was on a mission to snatch up as much candy as possible on the pavement at the 4th of July parade. Watching for huge trucks rolling by was the last thing on his mind. I saw everything play in my mind in slow motion…Zack darting away from my grasp to grab the candy. The truck getting closer and closer. Greedy little hands reaching dangerously close to a large wheel to pick up a sucker.

Fortunately, my slow motion brain told my legs to kick it into high gear as I hustled to retrieve my son from harm’s way as quickly as possible. I was able to pull him from the path of the huge tire without a second to spare. The driver of the truck never even saw him and continued down the crowded line of parade floats, trucks, and tractors. To this day, my heart still races and I break into a sweat just thinking of how the outcome could have been so tragically different if my timing had been altered by even a moment (Oh, how I hope that cherry flavored sucker was well worth my peace of mind!). My son was rescued just in the nick of time.

Certainly, that is one Independence Day I will never forget and am forever grateful that God was looking out for my son that hot, summer day. Recently, I was reminded of the incident when reading Scripture from Hebrews which talks about seeking God through prayer. It might seem odd at first that this verse would spark memories of this day but allow me to explain a bit.

“Let us then 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 NIV

It is our privilege and hope to approach God in prayer. Jesus died to save us and now lives to keep us in His care. We are sure to be welcomed into His presence at any time because in the verse, He tells us to come, He is beckoning us to talk to Him.  We don’t have to rely on a high priest as in the Old Testament, we can freely seek Him at any time of the day or night. He is our personal God and is there to provide mercy for the things we shouldn’t have done and gives grace to empower us to do what we cannot do on our own.

Campbell Morgan writes in the Choice Gleanings Calendar,

I am never tired of pointing out that the Greek phrase translated “in time of need” is a colloquialism of which “in the nick of time” is the exact equivalent. “That we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the nick of time”-grace just when and where I need it. At the moment of assault, you look to Him, and the grace is there to help in the nick of time. There is no postponement of your petition until the evening hour of prayer. But there in the city street with the flaming temptation in front of you, turn to Christ with a cry for help, and the grace will be there in the nick of time.

This reminds me that God is always there and His timing is perfect. When I need Him, all I have to do is cry out, and He responds just in the nick of time. My times of need are many but His presence and help never, ever fail. Just like when Zack needed me most, God is also there for me, ready to be a Friend, Counselor, Protector, or Hiding Place in my times of distress.

You, too, have the privilege and honor as a believer, to call on God in your most desperate moments. What are you struggling with today? Talk to Him now about your worries and burdens. He’s waiting and ready to welcome you into His presence. Then trust the Lord to provide deliverance and hope at just the right moment, in His perfect timing, in the nick of time.

Also, will you join me in praying for those who are going through difficult circumstances in our community, churches, and schools? There are several families and individuals who are dealing with loss, tragedy, and trying situations who need to feel the love, peace, and warmth of our Lord, especially now. Let’s draw near with confidence to the throne of grace on their behalf as well.

Hope your week is going well and that your burdens will be turned into blessings,

Alisha Ritchie