Help In Time of Need
By Jon W. Quinn
I live in a country at a time where things are pretty convenient and
comfortable. We typically do much better than “eke out a bare existence” here.
But even here, although we are quite comfortable most of the time, none of us
live their whole lives without having to face some ordeals and problems. Some of
us must deal with more than others. They say
“into every life some rain must fall”
- and in some lives the rain falls pretty much all the time. It can be hard to
keep from giving in to despair. The gospel of Jesus Christ gives a hopeful
answer in times such as these. One of the reasons that the Bible is a message of
hope is because it is also a message of help offered from our Friend in heaven
Sin Has Terminally Hurt The World
Sin has not only alienated us from our God spiritually, but it has also horribly effected the earth and its history. God created for us a paradise of a world upon which we could live, but now sin has pervaded it to the extent that hardship and heartache are never very far away.
It is not possible to attribute every specific instance of suffering to the sin of the individual involved. Jesus taught that there is not always a direct correlation between human suffering and a specific sin that caused it (John 9:1-3). Sometimes an exceedingly sinful person might appear to suffer less while a relatively good person suffers more. But it ought to be obvious that sin, in general, is the ultimate cause of all the suffering in the world. We live in a fallen world that is exactly as God said it would become if and when man rebelled.
The evil in this world is the
result of human sin against God. Might it not have been Jesus' complete
knowledge of all the suffering that sin has wrought in His beloved creation that
caused Him, when He thought about it, to weep at the tomb of Lazarus? Sin brings
death to all (John 11:33-35). The world in which we live
“groans and labors”
under the burden of the suffering caused by sin - (Romans. 8:20-22).
Help Us Lord!
Now God could put the world back the way it was prior to sin in an instant with a word. God could, like an indulgent parent, arbitrarily shield us from the earthly consequences of sin. He could warn, “Now if you disobey me, this or that will happen” and then we could disobey and He could say, “I mean it.” and we could do it again and He could say, “I really, really mean it this time.“ We have probably all seen such out of parents at the grocery store or at the park. Ever notice that the children do not take such warnings very seriously?
Many people seem to think God ought to be that way with us, but God is not an indulgent parent who breaks His own laws and excuses immorality and unrighteousness. He is righteous. He is not indulgent, but He is merciful. We can be thankful for that. The fact is, most don't really want mercy. Rather they reject His mercy and demand He condone them in their sinful behavior. He will not do that.
He has chosen, through His
Son's death on the cross, to deal mercifully and powerfully with the problem
itself. It is love and grace that motivates such mercy. It is not cheap. It is
not easy. (John 3:16,17; Romans 5:6-11). Those who are willing to accept, on His
terms, the solution God has worked out have the hope of a future life where all
will be made right.
Until that time comes, we remain in a world ravaged by the mistakes that others, and we ourselves, continue to make. Spoiled brats among us throw their tantrums and demand that God save us on our own terms. Our terms may not involve obeying His gospel, or even believing in His Son. They may not include repentance. They may insist that God not punish anyone and never be angry. Yes, we come to God for help as sinners, but He does not intend on us staying that way as a matter of habit. We must become new in Christ…. A new life, new purpose, new goals and new standards.
We need to be careful not to charge God with being either unable or unwilling
to help us merely because His help does not come in the manner we think it ought
to. God has not promised that those who have been saved spiritually will have no
further hardships temporally. There are consequences to sin. But they need not
be eternal consequences. He has made it possible, instead, for us to
“find grace to help in time of need”
(Cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
God is the God who knows us, cares about us, and helps us - (Psalm. 23:1-6; 1 Peter 5:6-11).
Where to Find God's Help
I am glad God has chosen to help us. It is only in Christ that the help is available. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Those unwilling to accept the Lord's solution to the guilt of sin render their prayers for God's help ineffectual. That is one of the effects of sin (Isaiah 59:1,2).
If, regarding redemption in Christ, we insist on remaining outside looking in, we will be standing outside the only place where the help we need is available.
This is God's terms: Every spiritual blessing He offers to our needs is only available in His Son (Ephesians 1:3; Romans 8:1). God is willing and able to send us help, but sometimes we are unwilling to receive it. God looks for good hearts in the world so He can provide them with what they need. He provides the answers for searching hearts as He did with Cornelius (Acts 10:1,2) and the Ethiopian treasurer (Acts 8:27-28). God sends the answers to seekers (Matthew 7:7-11). And beyond that, God sends His word even to those who are not actively seeking to give them opportunity and perhaps awaken within them a sense of their need for God (Acts 18:8-11; see also Romans 10:12-14; 20).
How did the gospel first come to you? Was it coincidence? Some might say so,
but God's providence might be the better answer. Know this: You were given the
opportunity to hear of Jesus because God loves you. Awesome!
Christ Himself has lived in this world, and He can sympathize with our plight: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). In Christ there is “grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16) - but we cannot despise the Source of the help without forfeiting the help itself.
God is the God of our help and our salvation. May we have the trust in our Heavenly Father to seek and receive His help. “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).