Help In the Time of Need

Some things are much easier to accomplish without help. Take, for example, my morning exercises. Just like any normal human being, I don't like exercising. I love to hike, but doing a boring workout is just not my idea of fun. However, with my arthritis and bursitis, I have to work at building strength, stamina, and flexibility into muscles that would rather do nothing. So, the workout in itself is difficult enough.

My beloved dog, Mitch, is such a sweet boy. He's always trying to help me. He tries to carry my backpack to the truck when we go for a hike. He's always willing to offer me aid, and that includes during my workout. When I do crunches, he tries to help me up, which defeats the purpose. When I do stretches, he does them with me which has created several toenail-shaped holes in my yoga mat. No matter what the exercise, he tries to find a way to help. I've discovered that if I want to get the full benefits of my workout, I have to lock myself in one of the bedrooms until I'm done. I love Mitch, but his help in that situation is not at all helpful.

I fear, however, that I sometimes treat God the same way. When God steps in to work out a problem, I feel put out if He doesn't help the way I had planned. You see, I've already examined the problem in great detail. I know the best way to work it out. I just needed some time to deal with it. But then God steps in and turns things around completely (and not for the better in my mind). At the time, God's help appears to be only a hindrance.

Many times in a situation like this, I will go to God in prayer. I show Him the plans I had laid out. I explain to Him how I had everything under control. I display the blueprints for Him to see how things were supposed to go. Sometimes, He sets me straight right away, revealing the disaster that was just ahead if I had continued to go my way. Other times, it takes a long while before I realize how, once again, God protected me from myself. He gave me help when I didn't want it and when I felt I didn't need it.

Psalm 46:1 says, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Even when we don't realize we're in trouble, God is already working. Even when we criticize or reject His help, He is there. He offers His help, and whether we realize it at the time or not, it is always helpful (and it doesn't leave holes in my yoga mat)!