Forget about climbing Everest or Anapurna, or bicycling through the Sahara desert. “God, just help me to get through this day.” If that’s how you feel, you aren’t alone. You’ve got lots of company. But when you really are under a heavy load, frankly you aren’t much concerned about the passenger three cars down from you, you want help with your load—now. That’s the way it is in life.
But God knows that. When Paul wrote to families in the Greek city of Colosse, he told them that, whenever he prayed for them. In this prayer he asked that they would be (here it is) “strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that [they might] have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the Father…” (Colossians 1:11-12). Talk about something practical! Think about it for a moment. He didn’t ask God to remove their burdens, but rather to strengthen them with His power so they could have endurance and patience, and—oh yes, one more thing—give thanks to the Father.
Talk about practical guidelines for living! You have them right here in Paul’s prayer. Human nature being what it is, we usually ask God to remove the burden—the difficulty of finding help for your children while you work, the boss who is a “pain in the neck,” the challenge of making ends meet because there is too much month at the end of the money.
“God, change my circumstances, ”we usually ask, thinking that if He comes through by taking away our problem, we will be happy and joyful. Not so, according to Paul’s perspective. “God,” he really prayed, “strengthen them with your power… so they can have endurance and patience…and even learn to be thankful in the process.”
Perhaps you recall the very touching incident in the Olympics of 1992 involving a British athlete by the name of Derek Redmond. In the semi-finals of the 400-meter sprint, Derek tore his hamstring, then collapsed in a heap on the track. Immediately it was all over for him. For a moment he lay there, stunned and in great pain. Slowly, he got to his feet and began dragging himself towards the finish. There was no chance of his being competitive. Why not quit?
Then his father, thinking that his son was trying to get off the track, came out of the stands and ran to his son. Then putting his arm around his son started to help him leave. But, no, Derek Redmond wouldn’t quit. Half walking, half crawling, he dragged himself towards the finish to the thunderous applause of the crowd.
I often think that is the way God’s Holy Spirit responds to our needs when we resolve that by His grace and strength, we will trust Him to take us through the problems confronting us.
Some, unwilling to face the test, do quit. But when you reach out for the Father’s hand, you will feel His strong arms around you, helping you to not only get through the day but to go on and finish the course. Yes, God, give us patience and endurance and help us to learn to thank you for your strength and help. Give us stronger backs and greater resolve, but most important of all, help us to trust you for the strength that we lack. Help us to walk through the darkness realizing we are not alone but that you walk with us, even when we cannot feel your hand.
There are times, friend, when you have to trust the Father’s heart even when you cannot see His hand or feel His presence. Long ago, Jesus gave His promise, “’Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we may say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Resource Reading: Psalm 91
Text: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – July 14, 2017