Help in Times of Helplessness
A pastor I know is an avid cyclist. He loves riding. He has the specialized bicycle and all the equipment to go along with it. One day he was out riding when suddenly a wasp flew into his open mouth. In horror, he was stung numerous times inside his mouth and before he realized it, he swallowed the bug. Suddenly he imagined how it would all end. The wasp would sting his esophagus and it would swell and he would die. He felt helpless! Have you ever felt helpless? Has there been a time when you had little or no control over the circumstances and events taking place in your life? Most everyone can name at least once when that has happened to them and I bet you can too if you think about it. Maybe you were waiting for the results of a medical test for a loved one or even yourself. Maybe your well being was in the hands of another person… the surgeon, the dentist, a financial advisor, a mechanic, or even just your boss. It really stinks to feel helpless.
The Book of Genesis tells a wonderful story of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham has been promised by God that he would have a son who would be the father of many nations. But, due to their age, they begin to believe that God will never come through for them. So, they opt for an alternative. Abraham has a child (Ishmael) by another woman, Hagar. Then suddenly God appears to Abraham and tells him that Sarah will have a child and name him Isaac. Abraham is stunned! Could this be true? God is now going to act after all this time? Yes, God acts to bring a child (Isaac) forth from two aged people. God fulfills the promise to Abraham.
The beauty of this story is this. We, like Abraham, often lose our patience with God. We find ourselves even laughing at the thought that God can or will act for our best interest. We struggle with the faith in God to believe that God is good and no matter the circumstance will be there. We would much rather point to times when we felt that God was distant or absent. We would use our timetable instead of God’s when it comes to giving us what we want. When we expect God to act in our time, that is not faith; that is called the drive thru at McDonald’s. God acts in God’s time not usually in our time. We struggle to understand that fact, but often in retrospect we see how things worked best in God’s time and not ours. But the catalyst is this, God’s strength is best seen when we are helpless. That is the heart of Christian faith. When our power is gone, God’s power takes over. Throughout scripture, God chooses to act in a time when people have to rely solely upon God. That doesn’t mean we can sit around and do nothing, it means that we should realize that our plans and power are meager in comparison to God’s. When in our prayers we seek God’s guidance, we are to believe God will come through.
Here is the greatest part. God even comes through in the midst of our mess. When we have failed, God picks up the pieces. That has been and will be God’s most triumphant moments in human lives. Cleaning up our mess and showing the world that He is God and God is good. So, in all things seek God and in all those things God can be trusted. Until next time, Blessings!