Appropriating God’s help

Written by Charles Ekong

17/04/2023

Many of us desperately need God’s help to deal with a situation or two in our lives or the lives of our loved ones. It’s human to be in this position, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Some people are desperate to demonstrate that they can pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps, but that’s either foolhardy or a deceptive facade. As the famous saying goes: “No one is an island”. We need people, and we also need their assistance. Others help us with things we cannot do and counsel us in moments of uncertainty. As such, we’re usually worse off if there’s no one to assist us in our season of desperation.

Many would agree with most of what I’ve written so far. However, for those convinced that all they see is all there is, their perspective of help is constrained to the material and limited by human reason and finitude. Yet, for those who believe in the supernatural, there’s an acceptance that assistance may come from the spiritual realm, even in a way that defies logic and the natural order of things. The latter category should be where Christians camp, with good reason too. The Bible is replete with stories of men and women helped by God, often in spectacular ways. Numerous people in dire straits received miraculous assistance. For instance, a king destined to be annihilated by his adversaries experienced a supernatural victory [2 Chronicles 20]. A nation experienced divine liberation from slavery and miraculous sustenance in a wilderness for forty years. 

These are just a few examples to illustrate that God undoubtedly helps human beings – a fundamental tenet of Christianity. That said, I believe it’s imperative for anyone anticipating divine assistance to understand how God helps us. I suspect that failing to discern this aspect of our Christian walk can lead to disappointment with God. Obviously, the Creator of the universe can intervene in the affairs of His creation in whatever way He pleases [Job 9:12]. Yet, when you read through Scripture, it’s evident that His interventions in the affairs of men and women weren’t haphazard. For instance, God’s principles, consistent with His nature and character, govern His dealings with us. Consequently, God’s love and faithfulness, buttressed by His righteousness and justice, always dictate His actions [Psalm 89:14]. So, He will never deny Himself by doing anything contrary to who He is.

Scripture says more about God’s nature and character. But one implication of the above is that God’s actions are predictable because He’ll never violate His word [Numbers 23:19], even though His methods are often unpredictable. So, we can count on God’s help if He promises to give it in His word [2 Corinthians 1:20]. Another principle which governs God’s intervention in our affairs is that He does nothing until He reveals His plans to His servants [Amos 3:7]. That implies God’s word precedes His actions. So, if you desire God’s help, find out what He said first. Then, if you want to guarantee the manifestation of that help, believe what He said [1 John 5:4]. Often, we complain and cry in desperation, but sadly, many of us don’t take the time to examine and believe what God said about our situation. Consequently, we don’t experience the help promised.

I’ve recently discovered that my feelings and tears don’t move heaven in the way believing God’s word will. There’s a place for our emotions, but faith is the conduit for the miraculous [Mark 9:29, Hebrews 11:6]. I’ve also realised that faith isn’t arbitrary; it requires evidence as an anchor [Hebrews 11:1]. That evidence is what God said. As such, biblical faith can only exist after God’s word is heard and believed [Romans 10:17]. So, those desiring God’s help must position themselves to receive His word. It’s noteworthy to remember God expects us to appropriate His word accurately [2 Timothy 2:15]. Unsurprisingly, many are peddling erroneous doctrine today [Matthew 24:24, Acts 20:30, 2 Timothy 4:3-4]. So, we must be discerning [Hebrews 5:13-14]. God is committed to doing what He said, not what we think He said. Therefore, we do ourselves no favours by believing what God didn’t say. 

Though we can conclude that Scripture assures us of God’s help as we navigate life, we must also recognise that His word governs His intervention in our affairs and that our faith is crucial to experiencing the manifestation of His promises. We shouldn’t forget that the devil, who understands as much as we do, if not more, about God’s principles, nature and character, will do anything to prevent us from hearing His word – written or spoken. He’ll manipulate situations to keep us busy, distracted, etc. If he’s unable to stop us from receiving and understanding the word, he’ll sow seeds of doubt and discouragement. If those seeds take root, they’ll render God’s word ineffective in our lives [Matthew 13:3-7,19-22]. So, if we desire to experience God’s help, we must esteem and guard His word jealously. It’s game over for the devil when we truly grasp God’s word by revelation with unshakable faith [Joshua 1:8].

One last thought. God often helps us through others. The story of Naaman, the leper, is a good case in point [2 Kings 5]. Though brought about by God’s power, Naaman’s healing came through his wife’s maid and God’s servant. He would have remained a leper had he ignored either of them. Naaman’s story illustrates the values of not isolating ourselves in times of trouble and honouring those God has placed in our lives because they may possess the answers to our prayers. Do you desire God’s help? Do you have appropriate evidence that God is committed to doing what you expect? Are you actively leveraging your potential helpers? 

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