Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Help, I need Somebody. Help, not just anybody.

It seems to me that as our children grow from being babies to teenagers, it's a good thing to see them grow increasingly less dependent on their parents, right? It certainly doesn't seem all that healthy if a teenager needs his or her parents in the same way a baby does. 

But that's not the way it works as children of our heavenly Father. In our life with God, the more mature we become as God's children, the more we ought to depend on our heavenly Father. It's a good thing to both need and want God's help every day, reaching out for it consistently in prayer!

This came to mind the other day when God rebuked me for something that I thought He ought to be comforting me about! It happened while I berating myself for some blunder I'd done, and then I began telling God how comforting I found it to remember that He "does not deal with us according to our sins" (Psalm 103:10). I then felt like God asked me why that was so comforting. Well that's obvious, I thought. It's because I often beat myself up when I blow it. Again, I felt like God asked me why. Praying, I told God that I guess I thought I should be able to do better, like a child who gradually grows more mature and learns how to better handle things. Then came God's clinching question: "Are you trying to impress Me?... As though you're trying to show Me that you can manage certain situations without needing My help, as if that seems a good thing?!"

Ouch. I knew that God wouldn't ask a question like that unless that was exactly what I was doing. What I realized at that moment was that I ought to be far less concerned about "blowing it" than I am about depending on my heavenly Father. That's because God really wants us to become more comfortable with the mistakes we make while depending on Him, and less comfortable with trying to avoid mistakes while not depending on Him! Simply put: God wants us to need Him. Depending on God for help is the mark of the strongest Christians.

That's why in Pilgrim's Progress, it's so inspiring when the mighty character named Great-Heart says, "It is my duty to mistrust my own ability, that I may have reliance on Him who is stronger than all."

That wonderful example of dependence on God is also set by the writer of Psalm 121 as he wrote: "I look to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. He is the maker of heaven and earth." (vv. 1-2).

Those verses seemed quite fitting to me the other evening as I was walking my dog outside our city in a wide open setting. As I walked, I marveled at how huge the prairie sky was above an expansive horizon that stretched out before me like a braggart showing off how much it could put on display in one remarkable view! It all seemed so vast and awe-inspiring. As I stared up at a pale and imposing moon that was already rising before the sun had fully set, I found myself wondering how far that clear blue sky around it went on and on into the empty space that I knew stretched far beyond where any eye could see.

"Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. He is the maker of heaven and earth." If the Maker of the amazing scene that I beheld has offered to help me, then why, oh why, would I not want to depend on Him who offers me that help? All my challenges and needs feel so tiny compared to that outstretched scene that I beheld, and to the outstretched hands of the great God who made it all – and who extends those hands to help me!

So I must resolve that as I face life's challenges, I'll make it my aim to daily depend on my heavenly Father, like a little child, so that I can grow into the man of God I truly want to be.

© 2017 by Ken Peters

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