Five Ways God Helps Us
Shortly before my paternal grandfather died in 2001, he told my family that all of us are “once and adult, twice a child.” And how true that is! Our lives are bookended by total
helplessness. Basic tasks are impossible for someone who is at the very beginning or very end of life. But life in the “in between” reminds us of the helplessness we had at birth and causes us to anticipate what our last days might be like. No matter how strong, how resourceful, how intelligent, how wealthy, or how connected we are, all of us are in a perpetual state of dependence. We need help to make it through the day-to-day of life. Scripture reminds us of this condition through the trials and tribulations of those who have gone before us, through didactic teaching, and through poetry and song. God wants us to remember that our “help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). Just how exactly does God help us? Consider these five ways:
Freeing Us From Fear: So much of what we say and do stems from fear. When our first parents first fell into sin, their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual state shifted from being naked and unashamed to afraid and embarrassed. This is why they hid and covered themselves. We don’t have to look far in our own lives to find ourselves figuratively doing the same the same thing. We all fear that through our own failures, the betrayal of others, and the brokenness of the world, that we will lose that which is most important to us. This is why God comforts us with the reminder that,
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46:1-2)
Guiding our Path: How many times - even just today - have you been troubled by which decision you should make? Our lives are filled with what seems to be an endless litany of options, many of which are morally neither here nor there. And the fact that we are finite and can’t possibly see the entire picture when we need to make a big decision, causes us to constantly go back and question whether or not we made the right choice. The good news, however, is that God will direct - and redeem - our paths. As we trust him, helps us down the road that will work out for our good.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Bringing us Contentment: Israel’s besetting sin was their grumbling. They struggled with an entitlement mentality and a persistent longing for something better than what they had. And in a society as materialistic and image-oriented as ours, the challenge to remain joyful with what we have is fierce. It is with this in view that we are reminded not to build our lives on the material or physical but on God, who loves us, is with us, and is for us.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)
Protecting Us From Harm: This point requires a disclaimer: It is obvious that people can leave a permanent scar upon our lives; that they can hurt us in ways that (at least from our perspective) fundamentally alter the course of our lives. In fact, there is no shortage of godly people who have had their lives taken from them expressly because of their faithfulness to Christ. But because God displays his love by promising never to leave us nor forsake us, we can rest confidently in the fact there is nothing people can do to us that can rob us from what is most valuable; our security in Christ and the inheritance that he has provided for us. This is why the writer of Hebrews can confidently say,
"‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6)
Securing Us in His Love: So much of our cynicism stems from the fact that our relationships on this side of heaven are fundamentally based on merit. And we all know how fickle those relationships can be. Relationships and, sadly, even marriages can disintegrate simply because one partner is bored. People lose their jobs due to oppressive bosses and business owners are constantly burdened by incompetent and insubordinate employees. Friendships come and go and true, love-based relationships often seem to be a figment of our imaginations. Yet God reminds us that, “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Never forget the depth of God’s love for you and his promise that you are never on your own in this world. There is never a moment when he is not helping you.