Who’s helping who?
Raegan is two years old and eager to learn. When she is at our house she is so much under my feet that I almost step on her just trying to get around. One of our girls came upon a saying on a shirt that they accused me of being guilty of concerning little Raegan: “If I’m spoiled it’s my Papa’s fault. Saw it. Liked it. Told Papa! Got it.” Just because Raegan runs to me when she wants a popsicle or a slice of cheese, that does not mean that I have spoiled her!
Last Saturday as I was moving a table at church, Raegan walked up and said “I help you!” So again, under Papa’s feet, she stepped forward all ready to help me. As I started to fold the table legs, her little hands were all over it “helping” me. Then as I picked it up she was right there providing what she thought was great assistance, but I think I was lifting some of her body weight as I started off with the table. I had to take little steps so she could keep up and it took much longer to get where I was going than it would have if I had done the job alone. But we got it done—even though it took five times as much effort from me than it should have. In the end she was feeling good about herself and I was relieved that I survived it.
She thought she was helping me, while what was really taking place was I was helping her—helping her to learn the value of offering a helping hand, and helping her understand the importance of listening and following instructions. Not to mention that it was a wonderful opportunity for us to build a few memories together. Technically I guess we could say that she was hindering my progress, yet in reality a lot of unseen good was taking place.
After it was all done I was reminded of how we sometimes think that God cannot get anything done without our “help.” I think that quite often, though, in whatever we are doing He is really assisting us immensely to learn how to follow His instructions so we can be used more effectively for His honor. I am certain I have been a hindrance more than a help in many of my feeble attempts to “help” God get things done, but I am always thankful that He is patient, loving, and kind, always willing to gently nudge me along so that I can gain a little wisdom along the way.
Through our imperfect attempts to help God, He will enable us to become strong and more mature if we are willing to listen and obey. I like what writer and motivational speaker, John Maxwell, had to say: “Strong Christians see God in both the good and the bad. The mature believer sees God not only in the pleasures and palaces, but also in the barnyards and stables of life.”
When Christ was about to be arrested shortly before He was crucified, one of His disciples, Peter, decided to step in and help rescue the Lord: “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear (The servant’s name was Malchus.)” (John 18:10, New International Version). The Master quickly rebuked him and displayed His compassion in action even when He was being wrongly accused: “But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And He touched the man’s ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51). Peter thought he was helping his Lord, but in reality his Lord was helping him—helping him to see more clearly God’s plan and how to follow it.
So who’s helping who? It might not be who we think. God helps us far more than we could ever help Him. What He wants is our willingness and faithfulness, then He will take it from there.