Ever-Present Help

I’ve been deeply pondering something often the past few months.  It’s something most people who grew up in the church have believed and shared. We’ve even prayed this way, but something about it just hasn’t been sitting right with me. I don’t want to say that Jesus has been speaking to me about it, but I don’t want to say He hasn’t been either.

“God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

It has been on the subject of help. And God. And God’s help.

That might have been somewhat redundant.

I read somewhere that we should not ask for God’s help. I can’t remember where or the exact quote at this time, of course, but for a few years it has stuck with me. I take it out occasionally to think about but then tuck it safely away. Lately I haven’t been able to tuck it away.  It comes out and dances through my thoughts like a ballerina on the stage. Beautiful, spinning,  and flighty.  They would disappear off stage right, just to spin in again from stage left.

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Each time they swirl out they stay center stage for longer and longer, allowing me to get a good look at them as I examine them from all angles.

Does God help us? Should we ask Him for help? Those and many other similar questions have chased through my thoughts. The more I thought on it the less comfortable I became with asking God for help.

Please listen closely. As I thought about asking God to help me do something I would always feel my heart recoil. I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the thought that God helps me. God doesn’t help. God does. I can’t. He can. He does. As I live submitted to Him and His indwelling life, He does all the doing through me.  He isn’t a helper, or a co-pilot. He is Lord.

“And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” John 14:16

The word translated “helper” here means “advocate, intercessor, or comforter”. We know Jesus is all of these in abundance. We know He is our advocate and as that He lives and loves to intercede for us. He comforts us so we can in turn comfort others. I like this.

What I don’t like is the idea that He helps me. He provides assistance. What I also don’t like is the thought that there is any part of my walk that I can control or do myself. I can do nothing apart from Him and His life in me. We all agree that our salvation is by grace through faith alone. We know we can do nothing to gain it or earn it. We tend to live as though we believe after salvation our walk and our works are all our responsibility. We think we have to pay God back by our own merit and only call on Him when we can’t accomplish a task on our own and in our own strength.

Our walk with Him, just like our salvation, is by grace through faith alone. We are to live continually yielded to Him and His life. He is our Do-er.

When we help someone, we do for them what they cannot do for themselves. A parent helps their young child by doing for them what they cannot do.

This has made all the difference. I still firmly believe that God is not my helper, I am still very convinced that He is the Do-er of our relationship. I know, deep inside, that I am to live totally submitted to Him and allow His life to flow in and through me. I know that any plan He has for me will only be accomplished by Him and His life. I am completely powerless to do the right thing and I cannot obey Him without Him. I can do nothing apart from Him.

Nothing.

So when I read Psalm 46:1

“God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble”

I still know He is the Do-er, He does what I can’t. And in that He is a Helper. He is my Helper.

I also know when I stop submitting to Him, He stops helping. He never stops loving or living in me or drawing me back to Himself. His help, His doing for and through me, is His blessing. And He never blesses sin.

But He always blesses obedience and submission. And He is so faithful to show us truth. To bring to light the hidden thoughts and motives. He is also faithful to reveal more of Himself to us. He begins slowly conforming us into His image, renewing our minds and then speaking to our soul He truth. Each step shows us more of His character and draws us closer and deeper.

I’m all for going closer and deeper.

 

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