Everyone runs into problems in the course of daily living. The question is, “What do you do with them?” Often we figure out what to do, but sometimes problems seem overwhelming and we feel helpless. People with belief in God will often turn to God and cry out, “God, help me.” All over the world, no matter what religion, it seems natural in times of need for people to pray. It does matter, however, what God we pray to. After all, the Bible tells about many false gods that are no gods at all. False gods can be of no help, even though people feel they are. We must make sure we believe in a God who is known to exist, is compassionate, powerful, wise, and caring, and who is a rewarder of those who seek him. Such a God is a capable resource to get us out of trouble and restore us to healthy living once again. Assuming we do have an existing, powerful, wise, and caring God, what kind of help can we expect?
“Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Initially, one thing God will do is to calm any fears and anxieties we have with words of comfort. My wife and I both had surgical procedures recently, and it was very settling to hear his voice say, “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Trusting a God who speaks those words is a great help, for if we can trust him and leave the problem in his hands, peace of heart and mind is a positive step toward working through whatever problem we are facing.
God never meant for us to have the troubles we have. In the beginning he created all to be good, but we went away from him. Many troubles we experience are brought on by ourselves, through accidents, or by mistreatment of one another. Other troubles come from a resulting corrupted natural world that plagues us with storms, diseases, and other abnormalities. When God offers us forgiveness, and reconciliation with him, our acceptance makes it possible for us to have his love and help in times of need, though it is not always what we want. Nevertheless, he promises to work all things together for good on behalf of those who love him and are in tune with his purposes. We have the hope of his daily presence and help, as well as a future world we can look forward to, including a new earth and new bodies that will never again be subject to pain and death. Such hope enables us to endure our trials.
In addition to comfort, peace, and hope that come through our prayers and relationship with God, we can expect God to amaze us with providential circumstances in our favor, and at times, miracles that grant to us what we have asked. Most people have experienced unexpected good and providential events in their lives that answer to their needs. One time, we were moving to a new city, and I needed a GPS for my car to help my family and me keep from getting lost. Unexpectedly, and without knowledge of our need, as we were about to leave, a friend stopped by to give us a parting gift, and you can guess what it was. Many think of events like these as chance happenings. I prefer to call them loving and kind acts of a caring God, and I give him thanks for his goodness.
I will mention one more way God helps us, though we often do not see it as such. He allows sufferings.
I will mention one more way God helps us, though we often do not see it as such. He allows sufferings. It is not that the sufferings are good, but the benefit for our lives is what is good. Think of all the benefits resulting from the sufferings of Christ Jesus on the cross. So we ask, how can God possibly be helping us by allowing our sufferings? Here are some ways. Suffering has led many to belief in God, or closer to God, or back to God if they have strayed. Suffering often reveals our need to grow stronger. Do we have faith, love, and hope, or do we doubt, lose heart, and give up? Suffering loosens our grip on the things of this world, things like material things, fame, and self-centeredness, thus enabling more important things to surface, things like family, friendship, and quiet reflection. Suffering helps us discover the necessity of relationships, bringing us closer to each other. It gives an opportunity to love and help one another. Perhaps helping one another is the way God most often helps us. I have realized that God works through people. Imagine that! Through our relationship with God, and the skills he blesses us with, we can be instruments of God to help people with their problems.