Don’t go it alone
Why do we feel a twinge of discomfort when we have to ask for help? It may be, we like to always have control or may not want to feel like a burden. Some people would rather fail in something than ask for assistance. Man is not an island. God made people with limitations so that they can learn from others, accept their shortcomings, and be comfortable working alongside others. Pride professes that we are self-contained, at the moment we need others. The notion that one may become a burden to another, is an excuse to keep others in the dark about a need. God instituted families, communities and nations so that people are never going it alone. People who have difficulty asking others for help or prayer, will have a hard time believing that they need God. Time and again, we learn that though we can do things on auto-pilot and do them well, we often make a hash of things we have a lot of experience in.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me; lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12).
There’s some comfort in knowing that we all have struggles. When God created everything, He was pleased with the variety and abilities He gave each one. None of His creation is self-sufficient; the inception of life makes that clear, from birth. The more knowledge and experience we attain, the less dependent we become on others. Paul learned that just because God revealed to him great mysteries, he was never going to be self-confident. God allowed Paul to have a pinprick that he couldn’t shake, to humble him. Knowledge is good but it can lead to arrogance. When someone knows things that few understand, they can be tempted to look down on others and become isolated. God has ensured that we are able to gain all the knowledge we can, but we will always still be lacking in excellence. He has created us all with limitations or weaknesses so that we can depend on Him and others.
Though some may consider their struggles something to clamor about to God, Paul saw troubles as a boon. He saw them as a means of getting all of God’s capabilities to compensate for his own weakness. He persistently pleaded with God to remove “the thorn” but God declined. You may have implored God to help you for a while and still not received a breakthrough. This very thing has made you come to God time and time again. If it were not for it, you would never come. There are no coincidences with God. This thorn has distressed you, but it has not destroyed you. You have learned to depend on God and He has always seen you through. Isn’t it better to have the best while still unsettled? Don’t be confident in knowledge and experience, be confident in partnering with God to apply His Best. Be assured that when leaning on God, His Excellency is imparted on your limited abilities. This is why Paul embraced his weaknesses; because when combined with God’s Grace, he had perfect strength. Become God’s instrument in His Hands to demonstrate His Greatness. Our best form is perfected when God is orchestrating every detail. As others applaud, under our breath we give God the Glory.
14 Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. 15 “Call upon Me on the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me (Psalm 50).”
It takes some pluck to come to God in times of trouble. It requires we concede our inadequacy; we don’t have it all figured out and we are wanting in spite of all our knowledge and skill. This should not be our attitude just when in trouble. This should be our daily posture before God, because we are truly limited in every sense of the word. Get up and carry each day, with complete dependence on God whether or not you feel highly competent in your abilities.
7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple. 8 “Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice to You, with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord ( Jonah 2).”
There are those who seek God, in their difficult times to negotiate a business proposal: “If you do this for me, God, I will do this and that.” They make vows under a contract. “Call upon Me on the day of trouble,” it’s that simple—Call! He promises deliverance. But we must remember He delivers so that we glorify Him and not ourselves. We must be thankful and pay those vows on the contract we created, without being asked to. Those who put their confidence in other things, forfeit their mercy. If we have God’s Mercy, we have everything for the moment we are in.
Do you wake up each morning to end each day glorifying God? This is a great motivation to haul out of bed; “LORD I can’t wait to see what you will do through me today!” We can bungle the day and still glorify God at the end. Why? Well, because we asked God to manifest in His Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding, in all the work of our hands. The onus is on God to ensure we do our best by His Excellency. So, there’s not an hour we are not calling upon Him.
Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the Lord is His name): 3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know (Jeremiah 33).’
The Word of The LORD came to Jeremiah while he was in prison. Think about that. God could have let Jeremiah out and then speak, but it was in the prison that God had intended to speak. Jeremiah was a devout prophet of God, who spoke what God told him to the people and the king—without sugar-coating it; and that landed him in prison. This outcome didn’t take God by surprise, that His obedient servant suffered for doing as he was told. God is no respecter of persons, so we should not think that bad things only happen to bad people. In the prison—the place of injustice and the furnace of affliction, God meets His people. God says to call to Him and He will answer with revelations of mysteries that we don’t know; things we could never learn anywhere else. Never waste a moment in His Presence, no matter where you are.
16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy: 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine (Psalm 33).
Even the powerful, have no hope of victory in their formidable security. A nation is not delivered by its mighty army. We depend on others, technology and infrastructure, but we must not depend in entirety on arms of flesh or man-made things. We must always put our trust and hope in God, Who is above all things. Those who fear God don’t fear circumstances. They become more uneasy when they have failed to seek Him. In troubling times, its better to not grumble or shake your fist at God, instead come to God with your hat in hand and plead for mercy . It’s the best option and the best resolution to everything. People and man-made things lack foresight for all contingencies. God is looking to reveal Himself to those who fear Him alone, and depend only on His Mercy.
2 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me (Judges 7).’
Do you have to marshal a large number of people to support you, in order to get things done? Can you go forward with a handful of people who are more committed, than a large number of people who may not show up? Take God’s Word and lay it to your heart. It’s not about numbers— it’s about what God can do with one or a few people who are committed to do His Will. God will not give His Glory to numbers. When we depend on God and have like-minded people with the same vision, God will move according to our devotion and faith in Him.
28 For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.29 For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall.30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven. He is a shield to all who trust in Him.31 For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength,and makes my way perfect. 33 He makes my feet like the feet of deer,and sets me on my high places (Psalm 18).
The Holy One of Israel taught His people how to war against greater nations than them. All they had to do was hearken and do what He told them. He gives direction and He never fails those who heed. He becomes our shield and our rock of strength, Who makes our way perfect. Only God enables us to climb to greater heights in the places He has called us. He is the making of our great accomplishments. In every battle, we can run through a troop and exceed expectations because He is the Commander of Heaven’s Armies. He makes us adapt to different circumstances—”makes our feet like the feet of a deer”. What an Awesome God, Who takes us from strength to strength!
18 The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty valiant men, men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, and skillful in war, who went to war. 19 They made war with the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. 20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him (1 Chronicles 5).
There’s nothing greater than the Presence of God: There’s no want in His Presence. He hides us from adversity and adversaries, in His secret place where no harm can befall us. The LORD will teach us great and mighty things which we have not seen or heard. In His Presence, we inquire of the LORD, as we bend His Ear to us. He is our fortress, our strength and our full portion. He fights for us so that He is Exalted above all. We should make Him our dwelling place at every moment of every hour. This should be our greatest desire; to be hidden in Him.
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested (1 Chronicles 4).
If you don’t feel like seeing another day, at least look forward to and get excited, about what God is going to reveal in His Presence. Jabez was given a name that depicted the pain he had caused his mother. Jabez sought God to change the course of his life. When those we love may see us as the source of their troubles, we should not be defined by others’ description of us. We can ask God to undo every negative word spoken of us and turn it into a blessing. God will grant our request for His Hand to be with us and will keep us from any destructive path.
Depend on Him for everything; even the least of tasks should not be done apart from Him. This is living the best life by the Best that has always been: Days spent satiated with joy in spite of struggles; believing we are never alone; persevering with praise under our breath, as we carry the day in obedience.
4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. 5 For in the time of trouble, He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle, He shall hide me. He shall set me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me. Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord (Psalm 27).