It occurred to me recently that God has a stake in my life. His interest is akin to that of a majority stakeholder in a firm. Think about it, if you paid an incalculable price to free a young man from bondage and then adopted him into your family, wouldn’t you be exceedingly invested in the outcomes of his life? Sometimes, we unwittingly amplify the devil’s determination to ruin the lives of believers, yet God is far more invested in our success than Satan is in our demise. The difference is God has principles and integrity, and the devil has neither, which can make his approach seem more menacing. Yet, Scripture emphasises that nothing can separate us from God’s love [Romans 8:31-35]. He’s eternally commited to His own. In contrast, Satan leaves if we resist him because he’s only interested in thwarting God’s purposes [James 4:7]. Human beings are only a means to an end for him – the epitome of selfishness.
When we understand and appreciate why and how invested God is in our lives, we can boldly approach His throne of grace for the help and mercy we need [Hebrews 4:14-16]. We’ll do so not as strangers, unsure of the response we’ll receive, but as sons and daughters secure in the benevolence of our loving Father [Ephesians 2:19]. Jesus promised never to leave or forsake us [Deuteronomy 31:6,8, John 14:18]. He also said He would send us The Helper who would be with us forever [John 14:16]. Those promises imply two things: first, in this life, followers of Jesus will always need help, and second, that help will always be available. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, believing in God and His integrity is crucial to experiencing His promises. That said, I’m convinced it’s vital to understand how God’s help manifests in our lives.
In the fable of the drowning man, the main character is stranded in a flood on a rooftop, waiting for help. He prayed for deliverance, and shortly after, a rowboat came along. The man declined to enter the boat because he was waiting for God to help him. Next, a motorboat arrived on the scene. Again, he rejected the rescue because he was waiting for divine assistance. Lastly, a rescue helicopter came along, and the pilot threw down a rope and urged the man to grab it so he could airlift him to safety. Yet again, the stranded man declined the help because he was waiting for God to save him. Unsurprisingly, he eventually drowned and showed up in heaven, asking why God let him die despite his faith. What might be a humorous fable may become our reality if we don’t learn to recognise God’s help when it comes.
For much of my life, I associated God’s help with only the supernatural display of power. With such a paradigm, I often minimised any assistance that wasn’t miraculous. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t see God come through for me often, which was usually a source of doubt and frustration. A mentor mentioned something recently which encapsulates my mistake: “Disciples of Jesus are called to walk by faith, not miracles”. Of course, there are instances where we need the power of God, but that’s not the only way God intervenes in our lives. Paul, in his letter to the Church in Corinth, told believers that to the chosen, Christ is the power and wisdom of God [1 Corinthians 1:24]. That verse implies that while God’s wisdom might be less conspicuous, it’s just as potent a force as His power to intervene and change our circumstances for good.
Proverbs 8 communicates the value of wisdom probably more than any other chapter in the Bible. We read that wisdom was present at creation [Proverbs 8:22-31]. It’s also indispensable to good kings [Proverbs 8:15-16]. Experience teaches us that some situations require tact and wit more than might, and as you read through Proverbs 8, it becomes evident that access to the wisdom of God is just as advantageous as having access to His power. Take Joseph as an example; he didn’t perform any documented miracles. Yet, with God’s wisdom, he saved Egypt and his family from famine. Elsewhere, Solomon leveraged divine wisdom to elevate Israel to its socio-political zenith during his reign. Scripture is replete with many examples of men and women like Esther and Daniel who achieved great things by making wise choices. It’s a reminder to consistently covet divine wisdom and not just power, especially in our moments of confusion and desperation [Ecclesiastes 10:10, James 1:5].
The story of Joshua and Jericho is a helpful illustration of the value of wisdom. It reminds us that divine wisdom often defies logic. So, if we want to profit from it, we must be willing to subject our minds to the word of God. In the middle of a crisis, the wisdom we need to resolve our predicament may not make sense. We should expect that because God’s wisdom always confounds the wisdom of men and demons [1 Corinthians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 2:6-7]. The instructions that levelled the walls of Jericho made no sense from a human perspective, but Joshua’s childlike obedience brought an incredible breakthrough [Joshua 6:2-5]. Imagine if he refused to act on God’s word because it didn’t make sense or wasn’t what he expected. Thankfully, Joshua recognised that his breakthrough wasn’t coming through might but by following simple instructions. Many, like Jehoshaphat, would follow his example [2 Chronicles 20:15-17].
God uses both His power and wisdom to accomplish His purposes. Look out for both when you need His help. I’ve found it helpful to remember that sometimes God may miraculously turn water into wine instantly. But, on other occasions, He may show me how to get wine from planting grapes. Both are instances of God’s help.