“The Helpers”

In your family and circle of friends,
in your community,
you are known as one of the helpers.

You can be counted on to be one of the first who offers to help.
You are dependable also.
If you said you will help, you do.
Your word is your bond, no matter the cost.

But what do you do when you need help?
Who do the helpers turn to?

Some helpers are notorious for not asking for help,
for reasons such as “not wanting to be a bother.”
And so they struggle alone with their challenges,
While continuing to give out.

A word of caution,
a gentle but firm reminder to you helpers who follow this pattern,
you cannot keep pouring without being replenished.
Ask for help.
Allow others the privilege and the blessing of helping you.

Sustenance from the archives+: Help

Sustenance from the archives+ (26).png

The VOICE translation titled it, “A song for those journeying to worship.” What a fitting title, for is worship not a journey? One that moves us from a focus on ourselves or circumstances to the Most High God, who is worthy of all worship. It is one of 15 psalms titled, Song of Ascents, reportedly sung by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. I am referring to Psalm 121. I love this Psalm. I read, think of, or hear it and am reminded that, no matter the nature of the “mountain” that I face, my help comes from God, the Maker of heaven and earth. My Father and yours, who is our Helper who is always found in times of trouble. I share it today, for Day 22, paired with a song based on its truth.  I pray it encourages you as it does me.

I look up at the vast size of the mountains—
from where will my help come in times of trouble?
The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains
will send the help I need.

He holds you firmly in place;
He will not let you fall.
He who keeps you will never take His eyes off you and never drift off to sleep.
What a relief! The One who watches over Israel
never leaves for rest or sleep.

The Eternal keeps you safe,
so close to Him that His shadow is a cooling shade to you.
Neither bright light of sun
nor dim light of moon will harm you.

The Eternal will keep you safe
from all of life’s evils,
From your first breath to the last breath you breathe,
from this day and forever.

Today’s post is for Day 22 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge.  The post is one of the “+” in the series title “…archives+,” in that is freshly minted. The prompt is, “Help.” To read Day 21’s post please click on the link below.

Day 21: Start

Five Minute Friday: Help

InstaQuote_23072016 xQ3FICnysU6olihHL_qfvA

Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Help.”

I attended the funeral of the sister of a dear friend today.
My friend and I hugged.
I looked at her and later at one of her sisters who walked by.

I looked and I remembered.
I remembered when the first of my two sisters who are now living forever, died.
I remembered how I felt too young to cope with such a life altering event.
I remembered how I longed for my parents and my grief seemed unbearable.

Note that it seemed unbearable only because I knew it was not.
I had already walked through the darkness of grief several times before, with the greatest lesson coming from the death of my mother.
I knew that although I felt unable to cope and to some degree this was true –
I could not cope in my own strength –
I had help
I had help from the One who is the God of all comfort.

I experienced His hand on my heart and spirit, an internal touch.
But I also experienced His hand through the human helpers He sent my way.
I know He will provide the same help for my dear friend.
And, Abba, let me be one of Your helpers.

Help: Whenever, for whatever, and always what is best.

May I make a statement which, depending on your current challenges or past experiences you may consider preposterous?  Here is the statement: God’s children are never without help.

My audacity in making this statement is not based on wishful thinking but on the word of One who is completely and constantly trustworthy. The One who says He will not alter the word that has gone out of His lips (Psalm 89:34, NKJV). He does not lie and will make good on what He has spoken (Numbers 23:19, NKJV). He is also the One of whom it is testified in Joshua 21:45, “ Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.”  This same One, who never changes, also had recorded for us that He is our help and the source of our help. Here are some examples:

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me” (Psalm 54:4, NIV)

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth
(Psalm 121:1-2, NKJV)

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar
and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah. 
(Psalm 46:1-3, NKJV)

How then can we explain the times when we felt helpless (unable to do something to make a situation, task, etc., better or easier) and although we asked, begged, pleaded with God for help, the situation did not change? I wonder if during these times, we do not recognize the help He provides because it is not in the form we requested? For example, can it be that help came and comes in the form of grace and strength to endure, to keep trusting God, to offer what some songwriters refer to as “a broken Hallelujah, although our circumstances did/do not change?” The challenge can be not only to choose to believe that the help He promises will come, but also to trust Him to send it in the form that He knows is best for us.

Our Role Model. Our Help.

“Be kind  to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, English Standard Version).

I experience these words as a gentle but firmly stated and clear instruction. I experience these words and wonder, given that He is clearly speaking to His children, the Church, “What makes it necessary for Him to instruct us to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving as He forgives, without any qualifiers or exceptions?” We are His children, after all, and He is changing us into the image of His Son. Right?

All these things being true, nonetheless, can it be that this instruction is necessary because there are times, situations, seasons, when we do not feel like being kind? When we do not feel like being tenderhearted? When we do not feel like forgiving someone and, to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving as He has forgiven and forgives us, requires us to control our feelings and actively, intentionally choose to be kind?  Actively, intentionally choose to be tenderhearted? Actively, intentionally choose to forgive as He has forgiven us? Umm. I am thankful that in those moments, situations, and seasons, I can honestly say to Him, “Father, I do not feel like being kind, tenderhearted, or forgiving but please help me do so,” and He will, without hesitation.