Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Helper and the Helpless

There are seminars for everything – Christian growth seminars, overcoming trials seminars, coping with depression seminars, self-esteem seminars. I even teach courses on “Making Marriage Work” and “Biblical Principles for Handling Depression and Despair.”

However, I think that there should be a seminar emphasizing the truth about us – that we are really helpless flunkies. Why? Because if we forget this fact, we’re going to miss out in a big way.

I was reminded of this fact by the Psalms: “Behold, God is my helper” (Psalm 54:4). This might be a simple truth, but its implications continue to shake me from the temptations of self-trust. The fact that He is my helper suggests that I am helper-less without Him. It also suggests that I can’t do anything without Him.

At first, this awareness is quite anxiety-producing and depressing. It tells me that I’m not in control, nor can I be. I just don’t have what it takes. Gulp! Consequently, James warns us that we shouldn’t go around boasting that we can do this-and-that or even be at certain place at a certain time. Without our Helper, we’re a speck of dust, blindly arrogant and oblivious to the fact that we are blown about by forces greater than we (James 4:13-17).

However, we’re the Lord’s speck and nothing can ennoble and dignify us more than this fact. Indeed, the Bible says little about, “You’ve got what it takes” or “You can do it.” Instead, it’s all about trusting in God and coming to grips with our humbling inadequacies. In fact, it’s so essential for our growth to embrace these painful truths that Paul had to undergo painful trials in order to bring him to the end of any form of self-reliance so that he could learn how to rely on God (2 Cor. 1:8-9).

What does this mean for us? Well, it means that we are weak, vulnerable creatures who inevitably surround ourselves with delusions of our own abilities and accomplishments. Along with this inflated view of ourselves, we tend to place our hope in the wrong things, even spiritual things! We have this mistaken notion that once we grow in wisdom and spirituality, we will arrive, and we’ll be above the struggles.

Instead, we’ll never outgrow our need for our Helper; we’ll never we able to live our lives without placing our trust in Him! Life is just too big for us. Even our own lives are more than we can bear.

I say these things because I am, once again – and perhaps always – facing trials that are bigger than me. I would be lying to say that I am not anxious about them. However, what a joy it is to know and recall that it’s not about me, but about my Glorious Helper (Gal 2:20; Rom. 8:31-32)! Therefore, don’t disdain your trials, but rather regard them as divine reminders that our Helper is always available.

(See this video regarding another type of trial: http://www.coralridge.org/medialibrary/default.aspx?mediaID=2799)

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