This week I’ve thought a lot about how we respond to our own need for help. About the way we either look for, expect, and hope for help during times of need, or refuse to look, expect, or hope at all!
About how we sometimes, or maybe more often than sometimes, resent needing help.
Both are part of the human condition.
Maybe our reluctance to ask for help, or even accept it when offered, is because our original design was one of strength. We were designed for full-time connection to our source of strength, our Creator. Even now, because of that design, we naturally feel as if we should be able to handle everything on our own.
But we can’t, can we? Not everything? Some things are just beyond us.
Our connection to our strength source was broken long ago, and perhaps because of it, our world is broken. Sickness and disease, wars and strife among nations and families, and poverty and loss all give proof that even in a world where love and beauty and kindness still exist, we deal with the shadow.
We need, first of all, our connection to our Father restored. But good news! He has provided that connection, that restoration, through the blood of Jesus, and our faith in His blood. Provisions flow from the heart of the Father, offered through Promises made by New Covenant.
But, interestingly enough, the scriptures make it plain, as does life, that we need each other.
When I was about to go into surgery in August of 2012, my daughter asked the two surgeons who came to speak to us if she could pray for them. They seemed surprised by the request, so I piped up and told them that Psalm 118, the very centre of the Bible, tells us that God takes our part with those who help us, and this promise is what she would talk to the Lord about (in less than the five minutes the chief surgeon said they had ;-))
“The Lord taketh my part with those that help me” (Psalm 118:7)
While this scripture seems to refer to situations where King David was surrounded by physical enemies, the scriptures, in full, show us the heart of the Father and His desire to be our strength and help in every situation. Really and truly and tangibly.
But I wonder how often we finish praying and walk away with a preconceived idea of how the LORD should help us. We pray, and those of us who believe in and have seen miracles become “bound and determined” that some form of immediate, supernatural answer to prayer is the only way our answer to prayer must come. As a diehard lover of the WORD, where I see Jesus as well as His disciples answer prayers in that very fashion, I tend to be one of those “pray-ers”.
But Psalm 118 tells me that often God works through “those that help me”.
God and human. Perfect God and not-so-perfect us. Working together for His good plan.
I wonder if when I reject the help He sends, I actually, effectively, reject His help. Right then, at least.
I remember a time, years ago, when I had twisted something in my neck and was in pain from my head to my shoulder blade for quite some time. One night, I went to a home-based prayer meeting with a friend, and one of the “pray-ers” said, “Someone here has a pain in your shoulder and neck. I want to pray for you.” I didn’t ‘fess up, mostly because I didn’t have a lot of faith in the man who offered. But when my friend nudged me, I threw up a silent, repentant prayer, “Lord, I receive your servant ……,” and said to him, “Yes, that’s me. I’m in pain.” So he prayed, and right away I felt my back straighten and my pain go.
These two examples were in the area of needing physical health, and the answers to prayer in each came differently. Need I say I prefer immediate answers? But the answer I received through the hands of a skilled surgeon and others was just as much an answer to prayer as the other, and just as much a fulfillment of promise. But our need for His help, and His promise of help, goes beyond times of sickness. It is there in our work, in our families and in every aspect of life.
So, Jesus taught his disciples to pray,
Give us, this day, our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).
Give me this day, Father, my daily bread, the strength, wisdom, provision of all I need to be all you want me to be. All you designed me, individually, for. All are provided by the Father, whether supernaturally or carried in the hands of one He sends to help.
If this resonates with you as it did to me this week, let’s do this: When we hand a situation over to God through prayer, let’s let Him decide how his “Yes, of course,” is to happen. Then, let’s just trust and obey, watch and listen. And expect.
Expect to receive help and, more often, to be one who helps.