Psalm 146:5: “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”
I seem to have a trust issue. For some reason, deep down, I don’t always really live trusting that God will truly provide what is needed, whatever the needs may be. For example, over the course of the six years that I was pastoring a church, I had many moments or seasons of panic, anxiety or fear that I wouldn’t have anything to preach any given Sunday or study. Or times when I felt called to go on a missions trip or meet some need; I feared it wouldn’t be provided. Or now, in my new role with ServeNow, I have many restless nights wondering and worrying about where funds will come from to do what we sense called to do. This sense of panic, anxiety and stress easily can lead to seasons of despair and discouragement that can be crippling.
The real problem is doubting the reality and faithfulness of God.
The Israelite’s faced the same temptation (see Exodus & Numbers). They gave into unbelief no matter how many times God provided for them when there seemed to be no way. (Think being delivered out of Egypt, the Red Sea parting, the times he provided in ways they never could have imagined in the wilderness). Time and time again they cried out not in faith; but fear, despair and unbelief. They failed to remember that God’s past faithfulness was assurance of his present and future faithfulness. Because unlike human beings, his faithfulness never waivers and his character never changes. His past provision is promise of future provision. How he will provide is often very different in each new situation; but never once did he, or will he, leave them or abandon us! It is good to review the past to find confidence for the present and future. Remembering what God has done, reminds us of what God will do! As Hebrews 13:8 reminds us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!”
During a recent sleepless, restless night, I was reading through the book of Psalms. As I was reading God began to “highlight” some of the portions that speak of Him as our Help or Helper. For example, Psalm 54:4 says: “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” Psalm 121:2 says: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 33:20 says: “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”
Notice, not only does God help us; he himself is our help! In John chapters 14-16 Jesus speaks numerous times to his disciples of how he will send the Holy Spirit to be with them always. The word he uses is the Greek word: “Parakletos.” That word means and is translated as “Advocate”, “Helper,” “Comforter” or Counselor.” It speaks of someone who is “called to one’s side” to assist in whatever ways are needed in any given circumstance or situation. God is right by our side, helping us to become who he has called us to become, do what he has called us to do and provide or assist in whatever ways we need!
And this “Helper” that Jesus spoke of would not only be with them but in them! This is why Jesus would say it would actually be better for him to physically go and the Spirit come (John 16:7-8). Then God would not just be “Immanuel: God with us” but “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Colossians 1:27).
It is one thing for God to help us, but quite another thing for him to be our Helper. Someone who helps in a given situation may not in another situation. Their help may be temporary or momentary. However, when someone is a “Helper” they are there and help in any and every situation. In fact, do you know how the dictionary defines the noun “Helper?”
The noun HELPER has 2 senses:
1. a person who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose.
2. a person who helps people or institutions (especially with financial help).
To “help” means to “give assistance to (someone); make it easier for (someone) to do something; aid; to contribute.
By the way, this means that when you help to meet needs, provide aid, assistance or contribute to further an effort or purpose; you are reflecting the very character and nature of God! You are being a vessel which he himself is working through and providing for others, since He is the true helper and where all help comes from! That is pretty awesome! In fact, God calls us to excel in giving, serving, assisting, contributing, providing aid and help to others because it’s a reflection of who He is!
But God wants us putting our trust and hope in Him as our Helper, and the One through whom all help truly comes from. There is Psalm after Psalm of the writer crying out to God for help. And there is exhortation after exhortation to put our hope and trust in God. Psalm 115:9-11 for example repeats it in three slightly different ways: “All you Israelites (God’s people), trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield. House of Aaron (priests/servants of God), trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield. You who fear him, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield.”
So why do we struggle to truly live in a state of faith and trust that he will provide?
I believe part of the problem revolves around the fact that God’s ways (and timing) is simply not our ways (or timing). He just does not operate on the timetable we usually set for him! Or, he does not operate according to the ways we have figured out in our heads or planned in our own minds. But none of those dynamics negate the reality that he is faithful and true!
I can think back on so many situations where I was at my wit’s end and swimming in doubt and despair. But then God provided in some way, shape or form! God is trying to teach us and bring us to a place where instead of “waiting filled with anxiety;” “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” (Psalm 33:20). Waiting tests and tries our faith and trust in God and his faithfulness. It would seem easier to “take matters into our own hands and do something.” But waiting on the Lord, is how our faith and trust grows and builds “muscle.” There is no testimony without first being a test! And there is no “muscle” without it being “worked out” or “exercised!”
We all need God’s help in so many different ways. And with his help we can do anything he is calling us or leading us to do! Psalm 18:29 for example says: “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” Paul the apostle said that although at one point the Jews tried to kill him because of his preaching of the Gospel, “But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.” (Acts 26:21-22). It was God’s presence among and with the apostles and early church that enabled and empowered them to do what they did (see the book of Acts). And it is the help that comes from God, and He being with us as our Helper that makes all the difference in our lives!
So where is it (or what is it) in your life that you need help from God? Come to him and ask him to help you. Cry out to him, acknowledging and trusting in Him as your helper. Wait patiently in hope; not panic. Wait in faith; not fear. Trust in him. He is our Helper and has promised to help. He will not forgot or forsake you; abandon or fail you! Rest in the truth of what the classic hymn “A Mighty Fortress” reminds us of:
A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood…”
Psalm 28:7: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”