Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Ask God for help before you need it

I used to work a customer service type of job. It was a position dedicated to helping people find their answers, and even though it was a lot of work, I enjoyed it. The service in customer service is usually fun, until you get a customer who isn’t very nice.

But speaking from the customer’s standpoint (because the customer is always right, right?), I have been in situations where I didn’t receive very good customer service. I came looking for help or looking for answers, and there was no one there to help me. Or the people who were there weren’t very helpful.

Not only is that irritating, it’s discouraging. I’m not one of those people who goes to customer service straight off the bat. I try to figure it out myself first, and if I can’t, then I ask for help. But if the people who are supposed to help me won’t, then it seems like my problem will never be solved because I can’t do it on my own.

Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Psalm 69:32.

The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
    Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.

How fortunate are we that God isn’t like a lazy customer service person? He’s our loving Father who wants to help us and who is infinitely qualified to do so.

Not that He’s like a customer service line. God doesn’t work like that. Actually, most of the time, He’s helping behind the scenes before we even know we need His help.

But God never turns anyone who comes seeking Him away. Not ever. Never once in history has He turned someone who came seeking Him away, no matter who they are or what they did. Anyone who came to Him for help, He helped.

So have you asked Him for help today? Or are you stubborn like me and insist on trying to make it through life without His help?

Believe me, the more you try to figure life out on your own, the more trouble you’ll make for yourself. It’s so much better to just start out asking for His help instead of getting to the point where you can’t take another step without Him. Wouldn’t it be better to take the first step with Him?

Be encouraged. God is waiting for you to ask for His help today, so don’t wait. God wants to help us, and we’re nuts if we tell Him we can do it ourselves. Because we can’t.

So what do you need help with? A job? A family member? A friend? Whatever situation you’re in, God can help. He knows what to do. He has an eternity of wisdom to offer. So call Him up and see what He says. You don’t have to talk to a computer, and He won’t try to sell you anything. No strings attached.

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Stone path at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Seeking God’s help is a journey

What does it mean to seek God? That’s another one of those Christian catch phrases church people drop when they want to sound spiritual. It’s a good generic answer for just about any question–“I’m seeking God’s will” or “I’m seeking God’s face.” But what does it mean?

Stone path at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Stone path at Glen Eyrie – Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Psalm 69:32.

The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
    Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.

This brightened my morning, to tell you the truth, and it kind of made me laugh. At the moment, my church is starting a 21-day challenge to prayer (www.talking2God.com). The whole congregation has the opportunity to journal together and share prayer requests with each other, and even though this is only the second day, many people have responded. It’s pretty cool, actually.

And then, seemingly totally at random, I start finding all these verses about asking God for help.  The Holy Spirit makes me smile.

But, in any case, what does it actually mean to seek God?

This is terrible, but the first thing I think about when I think about seeking help is The Wizard of Oz. You’ve got poor Dorothy stranded in a strange Technicolor world (which I’m sure was quite disturbing after coming from such a monochrome place as Kansas), and all she really wants is to get home. She’s got her three strange companions, and they embark on a journey to request help from the Great and Powerful Oz. Of course, just about everyone knows the story. Oz isn’t exactly who his reputation led them to believe, and Dorothy wakes up after all of it and finds it was all just a dream. Whatever. But the concept is there.

Dorothy needed something only the Wizard of Oz could provide — a way home. And she was willing to go great lengths to get to him, so she could ask him to help her.

Seeking God’s help is a journey because, in my experience, it’s rare that God answers a request exactly the way you ask Him to. Many times, God’s answer will sound like “No” and at that point, we give up and stop asking. But “Not yet” doesn’t necessarily mean “No.” And that’s why you have to keep asking. You have to keep on keeping on until the day when the “Not yet” becomes a “Go for it!”

I love the Amplified Version of the Bible. It really details a lot of words and their meanings, and usually I read every verse in this translation before I put it on here. Mainly, I just want to make sure I’m not missing something in the translation. And today, I think I would have missed this.

Because when we talk about seeking God’s help, we think about asking Him for something. But that’s not all the verse (and the word meaning) seems to imply.

Psalm 69:32 AMP

The humble shall see it and be glad; you who seek God, inquiring for and requiring Him [as your first need], let your hearts revive and live!

See that? Inquiring for and requiring Him as your first need.

We’re supposed to seek God, not only asking Him but requiring Him to the point of necessity. We’re supposed to need Him.

Needing someone goes beyond the simple recognition that a goal is outside our reach. Needing someone implies a complete and utter humility. Because if you need someone else, that means you can’t get through life without them.

I’m bad at that because I don’t really need anyone. I like my friends, and I enjoy people sometimes. But I’m really independent. Not that independence is bad, but it does tend to make me rely on myself far more often than I should, especially when I should be relying on God instead.

Dorothy and her friends in the Wizard of Oz stayed on the yellow brick road in spite of the numerous dangers they encountered on the way, and they didn’t get off the path until they reached the Emerald City. Were there other paths? I’m sure. But getting off the yellow brick road would have meant navigating would have been up to them. The yellow brick road was the straightest, most direct path to the Wizard of Oz.

Seeking God’s help is a choice we have to make every day, to stay on the path, to keep moving forward in spite of the answers we think we get. And you can be sure that if you get an answer that causes you to rely on yourself, that’s not from God. Because if we want God to help us, we have to put our faith and trust in Him completely.

Seeking God’s help is a journey that makes us realize how much we really need Him. And He has promised that those who come to Him seeking His help in a way that is truly humble will find a reason to be encouraged. Why?

Well, read the next verse (Psalm 69:33):

For the Lord hears the cries of the needy;
    he does not despise his imprisoned people.

Are you on a journey this morning? Are you seeking God’s help? Are you humble about it? Then be encouraged. Because He hears you.