That is not a daily experience, but do you know what is? The help of my God.
I wonder--how do we picture God's response to us when we need help? Do we picture His annoyance? His aloofness? His coldness to our struggles? Get it together kid. We've got things to do. Why can't you be more like your sister so-and-so?
I was illustrating through some Psalms recently and came across these verses about God and help:
"The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalm 46:7
"As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!" Psalm 40:17
"For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." Isaiah 41:13
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15-16
I noticed a couple of thing about these verses as they relate to how God feels about helping us:"O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!" Psalm 71:12
He is our GOD. He makes Himself available to us. In fact, He chooses to dwell in us.
He is our help. He Himself. Not a messenger, not a servant. His help is personal. He is "in your midst." He "takes thought" for you. He takes hold of your right hand and speaks the words you need to hear.
He says to come to Him boldly! Come before the God who rejoices over you and delights in showing you steadfast love and mercy (Micah 7:18). His love for you is so extravagant, it's almost embarrassing (the kind of love the older brother in Luke 15 despised in his father).
He longs to help us. I'm no perfect parent, but I delight in helping my children. I have one child who completely loses it when she gets injured. She runs straight past my open arms and up to her room for the comfort of her special blankie. This reminds me of the words Jesus spoke about His longing to care for His people who remained resistant and even antagonistic to His love:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!" Luke 13:34Just as a newborn baby grows in trust each time a parent responds to his cries, we learn increasing trust each time we cry out and God faithfully responds. This is the relationship God is calling us to throughout Scripture. Trust in me! Come to me! I do not fail!
I have experienced God's help over and over again from the smallest details of my life to the biggest, from how I'm going to manage a certain schedule of events on a given day, to the bigger challenges of raising children, loving my church family, and sustaining a marriage. I trust Him because He's so faithful and so attentive to me. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if I'm His favorite (but I'm sure you are too!).
There's one more application as we think about God's willingness to help that I don't want to miss. What does this mean for the way we respond to neediness in others? We have been blessed to be a blessing. If God so treats us, how are we to treat others?
Here are a few ideas of how that might look:
- Be somewhere where you have the chance to be "in the midst" of neediness (our churches should be great places to start, also our jobs, schools, neighborhoods)
- Don't run from neediness. Be willing to let it get awkward.
- Be a safe person who can sympathize with weaknesses rather than judge them.
- Take thought for others. Show that you are paying attention. Anticipate what they might need in case they have a hard time articulating those things.
- Make your help personal.
- Rejoice in showing undeserved mercy and kindness. Love deeply.
For this I need God's help. And that puts me right back in the place I started, the place where God is ready to act.
Help me now, Jesus.
More thoughts on neediness here: