Jesus is the answer. So what’s the question? I believe Paul asked the right question when the heavenly light shone and knocked him to the ground on the road to Damascus: “Who are you Lord?” (Acts 9:5). He learned who Jesus was, and it changed his life forever. When God shined the light of his knowledge into our lives, it changed us as well. At least it should have knocked sin, selfishness, and pride off the throne of the heart.
Sometimes, however, it is not the light that knocks us down, but life knocks us down! The trials come and we are found reeling from the hits. At such times, it’s crucial to continue asking the right question, “Who are you Lord?”
The temptation is to ask, “Where are you Lord?” A book is out called, “Deserted by God.” I know the author ultimately concludes that God never deserts us, but still that thought is prevalent in a lot of teaching. I used to read things all the time that said (more or less), “God sometimes leaves you to yourself so that you can learn again how much you need to depend on Him.” Or, “Hang on, God won’t leave you alone forever, wait on Him and He will smile again into your life.” The idea is that sometimes God deserts us for a season, though it’s only for a season, in order to accomplish something in our life. But that’s not what the Bible says!
The Bible says, For he has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Hebrews 13:5-6). The Christian never needs to ask, “Where are you Lord?” Because He is always with us! He said He would never leave us nor forsake us. The correct question is, “Who are you Lord?” And the answer here is, “The Lord is my helper.” He is not just a sometimes helper, but a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Dear Brother or Sister, God has not left you for a season. Take heart that He is a very present help for you. As he said to Joshua, Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with you whithersoever you go (Joshua 1:9). God is with you, whether it seems that way or not. You have to side with what the Word says, not what your feelings suggest. That’s how faith operates.
There is great comfort in believing God is with me wherever I go. But notice, there would be no need to be strong and courageous if everything was always going to be easygoing. You don’t need to be courageous when everything is wonderful. There are times that are downright distressing and fearful, and that means you have to put on the strength and courage. You can, knowing God is with you. Many fail to access the Lord’s help, though, for different reasons.
“He’s Through with Me”
It’s a common temptation to feel like an exception. That is, you feel like God will help others but not you. You’re an exception. Your case is so bad that He couldn’t possibly want to have anything more to do with you. Ah, so many exceptions out there: “You don’t know my case!” There are so many of us with the difficult cases, I think we could start a new denomination: The Church of the Holy Exception!
You give no glory to God or the gospel when you think this way. It is basically saying that God’s redemption isn’t good enough, and that you have stumped Him. He was able to help everyone but you, because you were too much for Him. No wonder the devil tempts us to think this way!
The truth is spoken in Psalm 37:18: The LORD knows the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever. The inheritance which you have received, which includes God’s help, is FOREVER. There is no expiration date. “But I’m not very upright,” you say. Remember the good news of the gospel. Jesus became sin for you, that you might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Corinthians 5:21). Because of Jesus, you can boldly say, “The Lord is my helper.”
The Psalm goes on to say, They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied (vs.19). Wonderful promises! Because He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, we can face the daunting times with courage and confidence. If God is true, and if God is with us, we really have no reason to fear.
Isaiah 46:4 says, even to your old age I am he; and even to gray hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. You’re never too young or too old to trust in the Lord for great things in your life, including deliverance from the trial you are going through. Never say you are an exception. Say, “The Lord is my helper.”
“He’s Teaching Me a Lesson”
It is hard to access the Lord’s help when you think your troubles are coming from him. This is such a common mistake in the church, and has been the cause of all kinds of failure and anguish. People think the Lord brings trials into our lives in order to grow us or teach us lessons. But how do you really get instruction from the Lord? Through His Word: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2Timothy 3:16-17).
If you are able to be perfected and thoroughly furnished unto all good works through the Word of God, how could trials add to that? And if trials make you a better person, why aren’t there more super saints in the church? Plenty of them are going through trials, but that doesn’t necessarily make them better. And non-Christians go through their trials, too.
Trials do work in getting us to add patience to our faith. And patience produces character, according to Romans 5:3. But this doesn’t mean God is sending the trials! It gives us hope that even in trials we can get some good. It’s not a warrant to embrace the trouble.
God also disciplines us, according to Hebrews 12. But there is a difference between discipline and child abuse. If you think God is disciplining you by inflicting you with pain or cancer, you have a warped view of the loving Father. Any wise parent knows that discipline is supposed to be quick and get the message across. No loving parent enjoys spanking their child, and if they must, they wish to get it over with. So why do we charge God with putting terminal illness on his children? Or destroying their homes? Or making them miserable every day of their lives? Where is the lesson? Don’t you think God is a wiser parent than that? Is that how love works?
Some people have felt or said, “I’m another Job.” Job was the Old Testament saint who went through terrible suffering, and it was suffering for a purpose. But that purpose was fulfilled. Because of Job’s suffering, he was able to intercede for his friends at the end of the book. They didn’t have to answer for their “folly” because of Job’s prayers (Job 42:8). We live in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. We have a greater than Job interceding for us, and because of that we can be sure there is no need for anyone to go through Job’s plight again.
Suppose you were another Job, though. If that were the case, then you would have every reason to rejoice, knowing that you were going to be healed and restored with greater than you ever had before! People who claim Job’s plight never seem to claim Job’s reward. Even in the book of Job, the suffering came to an end, showing that God was his healer and helper.
“One Day at a Time”
Another reason for failing to access God’s help is because there is a mistaken notion of what that help is. Often, Christians believe only for help to get through the day. They expect to be in their suffering condition as long as they live, but they can at least smile and have some peace. I’m not criticizing that, and that is worth a lot. But God’s help is meant to get you through and out of the trial. God is a deliverer, and it’s His business to deliver and redeem. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all (Psalm 34:19).
Paul stated it clearly: The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever (2Timothy 4:18). This is not just help to get you through. It is help to get you out of!
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1Corinthians 10:13). This is often quoted with the emphasis on, “don’t worry, you won’t have to bear more than you can handle.” But why don’t we focus on, “he will also provide the way of escape”? You can endure your trials much more easily when you know that your way of escape is coming. Why only trust God for getting you through the day? Why not also trust Him for complete deliverance? He is a big God, and He wants to show Himself big in your life.
“Why doesn’t He? I’ve prayed! I’m still in the same situation!” Remember His words to Joshua. He commanded courage because there were battles to be fought. If you want God’s help, you have to give Him something to help. Joshua had to move and fight, and God was with Him to help. If you’re in a situation, you need to find which promises in the Word to stand on, and fight the devil with confidence of God’s very present help.
That’s how David defeated Goliath! Now did you know that David wasn’t the only one that defeated a giant? You can read about several of his men who also defeated giants in 2Samuel 21:15-22. No record of any such feats in the time of Saul, but David’s men did it after David took out the first one.
Jesus is the captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10). He defeated a giant: him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (2:14). The amazing Scripture in this section says that both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren (2:11). Of one! That means we are united with Him who destroyed the giant. Therefore we can expect victory as well, because Jesus is no less powerful today. And you know He is greater than the devil.
How to Access Help
The author of Hebrews stated, that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Hebrews 13:6) Notice that there is “saying” involved, and that it must be said boldly. In the face of your trials, it is necessary to speak boldly. God will hear you if you cry, “Please help!” But it is better to be bold and say, “God is my helper. I will not…” Will not what? “I will not fail. I will not be depressed. I will not die but live. I will not lack.”
Here were the Hebrews, the Jewish Christians, who were being persecuted. They were tempted to forsake faith in Jesus and go back to their old ways. Thus the book of Hebrews was written to encourage them to stay the course. They endured reproaches and the ransacking of their goods. The author endured chains (see Hebrews 10:32-39). And yet in spite of the problems, it was suggested that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper. Instead of saying, “Where are you Lord,” or “Why is this happening?” They made a bold statement in the face of the circumstances.
It takes boldness to speak that way when all else looks bad, but that is where the help is. Start declaring the truth and character of God, and defy the circumstances. This scripture was actually quoted from Psalm 118:6: The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The Lord is my helper, or the Lord is on my side. If God is for us, who can be against us? The Psalmist then goes on to declare, All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them (vs.10). He is in quite a fix, yet he prophetically speaks victory. That is what we need to do as well.
What are you saying? It won’t work just to get into trouble and then mutter, “The Lord is my helper, The Lord is my helper, The Lord is my helper!” No, it’s not a formula or mantra. It is a truth that you need to convince yourself of. You might need to get alone with God and stay put until it sinks into your heart. But speak it until you are persuaded of it. Remember, faith is the evidence of things unseen. It is not a wishing for help. It’s the assurance of help before you see it.
In Psalm 3, we see the outsiders speaking according to what they see: LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God (vs.1-2). The devil will tell you that you’re hopeless and there’s no help for you. That’s how it may look. But we serve a God who isn’t intimidated by the circumstances. Follow how the Psalmist responds by faith: But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head (vs.3). That’s bold speaking. That’s faith talking. It’s finding help in who God is.
Isn’t it good to know that your God is a God who loves you and desires to be your helper? Life is much easier when you have help. God, the Lord of all Creation, is glorified in helping you. Let His love be the lifter of your head, and go forth as one blessed in Jesus. The trials never stop, but neither does His faithfulness and love toward you. The circumstances will change.
It’s an awesome revelation to know the Lord as a very present help. Don’t just be a hopin’ and a prayin’. Start a sayin’!