God’s Word reveals His nature and character, and one important characteristic of God is His willingness and ability to help you right now! Let nothing stand between you and your Helper.
I once read about a certain region of the world, where hot springs and cold springs are found side by side. Because of the convenience of this natural phenomenon, the women of the area bring their laundry to these waters, washing the clothes in the hot springs and then rinsing them in the cold ones.
A thoughtful tourist once commented to a guide, “The people who live here must be thankful that Mother Nature has so generously supplied them with hot and cold water.”
The guide answered, “No, they’re not. They’re too busy complaining because she didn’t give them soap.”
Have you ever noticed that a lack of gratitude causes people to be negative? I’m not a pessimist, but it seems that as the end times draw closer and closer, we are seeing more negativity than ever before. And some of that negative thinking has crept into the Church. Even among those who’ve been taught the message of faith, we see people complaining about what they don’t have, about who has done them wrong, and about how unfair life is. Such people focus only on their problems, and rarely on the solution
Yet God—the Source of every solution—has not changed! The One Who loves them with an everlasting love and who drew them into His Kingdom stands ready to bless and help them more than they could imagine. God stands ready to help every Christian—including you and me!
A Spiritual Epidemic
So, what has happened? I call it an epidemic of a dreaded disease called discontent. Those afflicted are dissatisfied with the things they have. A major symptom of this disease may be complaining, but the cause of the disease is a lack of gratitude. Unfortunately, an unthankful heart prevents us from appreciating the blessings we already have.
For example, you may have a job that you don’t like all that much. But it probably pays the bills. Many people who are unemployed right now would love to be in your shoes simply because you have a job. So, remember the One Who gave you the breath and strength to become employed to begin with. Thank God for your ability to earn income—and thank Him for your income, even if it’s small. Your thanks to God will allow Him to take you higher in life.
Many times, we are waiting for God to do something for us, and while we are waiting, we’re complaining. But if that’s our attitude, then we’re going to be waiting a long time! Why? Because we have failed to realize that God is the One Who has helped us and gotten us this far. We have forgotten that He is our Helper, and He will not forsake us! Look at Hebrews chapter 13:
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE.
6 SO THAT WE MAY BOLDLY SAY, THE LORD IS MY HELPER, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. . . .
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Many believers have no confidence in God because they don’t understand that God is with them. Hebrews 13:5 says that God will never leave us or forsake us. The next verse begins, “SO THAT we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear . . . ”! In other words, since it is true that God will never leave or forsake us, that means God is with us. He’s on our side, and He’s with us to help us! We can have confidence in that!
The truth is that as believers, none of us who has enjoyed success in life would be where we are today without God’s help. The assistance we have received in life may have come through another person, but, ultimately, God is responsible for helping us. We should be ever mindful of that fact—and if we are, we’ll have a continual attitude of thankfulness.
Alex Haley, the author of Roots, had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. In the picture, a turtle sits atop a fence post. One visitor noticed the odd depiction and said, “Why do you have this picture?”
Mr. Haley replied, in effect: “Every time I write something significant—every time I read the words that I have penned and feel proud at how wonderful they are—I remember this turtle. It didn’t get on that fence post on its own. It had some help along the way!”
No matter where we are in life, we should be faithful to give thanks to the Lord, because He is our Helper. If we’re facing a need or a problem today, we can thank God that He delivers us out of trouble. If we are enjoying abundance today, let us remember that we had His help getting to that place in life. And let us hold in our hearts an attitude of deep appreciation and praise to God, Who has blessed us all.
Hindrances I See Today
We are hindered in our faith and spiritual growth today by a lack of gratitude, and it seems that this condition is growing more and more prevalent. I see three things happening in our time that hinder our praise and worship of God. These things keep us from acknowledging Him for who He is and giving Him our adoration and gratitude.
Number one, people have become too busy for God. Now, certainly, we live in a busy, busy world. We’ve often heard it said, and maybe we’ve said it ourselves, that it would be good to go back to a time when life’s pace wasn’t so hectic.
But, even in this busy era, we can and will make time for the things we want to make time for. Today’s technology has certainly given us more to choose from in the way of entertainment, and we have more to distract us. Yet we should never be so busy that we shut God out of our lives. He is the Source of our life, and He is our Helper. If we shut God out, we shut out our ability to thrive, and we shut out the very essence of what makes life meaningful.
Number two, many Christians have lost their vision of God’s majesty and greatness. They have allowed too many other things to cloud their view of God, and they have ceased to recognize or acknowledge Him for who He is. But that shouldn’t be! We all have reason to give thanks to the Creator, to Jesus Christ our Redeemer—to the God Who is a present help in time of trouble this very day (Ps. 46:1; Heb. 4:16).
Number three, many of us allow our own pride to keep us from expressing thanks to God. Many people are so concerned about the opinions of others that they will not even give thanks for their food in public. As far back as grade school, I remember bowing my head in the school cafeteria to give thanks to God for my food. I did the same thing throughout school, even in college, and in the military too. I still do! When I’m out at a restaurant, I give thanks to God for my meal. And when I eat at home, I give Him my thanks.
Do you have food today on your table? Those of us who do are blessed! In some parts of the world, there are many who do not have sufficient food to eat. Of course, it is not God Who has withheld food from them. But their struggles remind us that we have much in our lives to be thankful for.
Give Him Thanks Forever
The Psalmist David had something to say about voicing our gratitude to God. We see a hint of it in verse 12 of Psalm 30, in which David says, “. . . that my heart may sing to you and not be silent” (NIV).
PSALMS 30:10–12 (NIV)
10 “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.
In this psalm, David was recalling the great wonders God had performed for him. David had cried to the Lord, “Be my help” (v. 11). And God did it! He turned David’s mourning into joy. What did David do then? David said, “I will give you thanks forever” (v. 12).
In the tests and trials of life, we can either wring our hands in worry and fear, or we can lift our hands with thanksgiving to God, saying, “Lord, You are my Helper. Thank You!” It’s all a matter of how we approach things. God is the same today as He was when David called upon Him. And you can say, as David said, “God, You’ve turned my mourning into dancing. You’ve turned my bondage into deliverance, and my confusion into peace. You’ve made the crooked places into a highway, and I will give You thanks forever!”
Throughout the Word of God, we continually see God helping His people. I challenge you today to meditate on the fact that He is your Helper and to “give Him thanks forever.”
Many times, God has helped us when we didn’t even realize it. I am certain He has helped you at times before you ever turned your life over to Him. Did you thank Him, or did you just walk away, as so many people do?
Perhaps you’ve missed it and sinned. Maybe you’re in a mess right now, and you’ve given up hope that God will help you; you’ve lost sight of Him as your Helper. Just remember that failure doesn’t have to be final! God can turn any situation around if you will turn to Him with your whole heart and claim Him as your Helper.
When a child falls, a parent or caregiver will usually pick him up and say, “You’ll be all right. Now, let’s go on.” Similarly, when we as God’s children miss it and fall, He is right there to pick us up. He does this because He’s our Father and our Helper.
Yes, we live in uncertain times. But God’s Word is not an uncertainty. He said that He would be there to help us, and He will do it! So let us resist the world’s tendencies of thanklessness, complaining, blame-shifting, and excuse-making.
Instead, let us think about the good things God has done in our lives, beginning with our salvation—with our being translated from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light (Col. 1:13)! And let us think about everything He said in His Word that He will do for us. Remember—no matter where you are in life today, this is not your stopping-place! God has more in store for you, and He is your Helper!