Lord, I Need You: I’m Helpless

Helpless. Desperate.

There are times in life when we just feel as if there is nothing we can do. We can’t fix or change the situation and life seems impossible.

There is a great story about a situation that seemed impossible to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 2. He was feeling desperate. The Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites were coming to fight against him in Jerusalem. There was a vast number coming and they were getting closer. There was no time to prepare and this left the King feeling very helpless, it seemed that there was nothing that he could do.

Have there been times in your life when it felt like everything was coming down on you? Maybe you feel like that right now. You see it coming, and it seems that there is absolutely nothing you can do. King Jehoshaphat had these vast armies coming at him and he wasn’t able to prepare.

  • Maybe you have an overwhelming number of expenses hanging over your head and you don’t know where the money will come from to pay all of the bills.
  • Maybe it’s cancer that is spreading or some other illness warring on a loved one’s body or your body and you are left feeling helpless.
  • Or maybe it’s your adult son or daughter who has made  wrong choices and now faces court sentencing that will soon mean a prison term.

Whatever it is you are not able to fix it or change it. What do you do in such a desperate situation? Kin Jehoshaphat chose to seek the Lord and then he proclaimed a fast for all those joining him. Many gathered before him and he stood up and prayed.

He begins his prayer by recalling how the Lord has met them in their troubles, in their needs, and in their helplessness before. Have you seen God at work meeting you in previous times of difficulty?

King Jehoshaphat tells the Lord that no matter what kind of disaster comes upon them, they will stand before Him and cry to Him in their distress. They know where their help comes from. They know that the Lord will hear and will answer. It has been their experience with the Lord to see Him work on their behalf and they come to Him in faith. King Jehoshaphat’s confidence is fully in the Lord’s ability, he knows that he himself is helpless.

The king went on in his prayer telling the Lord of their previous dealings with these who were about to come against them. He reminds the Lord that He had not allowed them to be invaded, but these armies were coming to drive them out of the land that the Lord had given them. King Jehoshaphat asks the Lord if He wouldn’t bring judgment upon these armies because Israel is powerless before such a vast number of warriors.

And then, there is this key phrase in the king’s prayer. He tells the Lord, “We do not know what to do, but we look to You.” Wow, that is a prayer of helplessness. The feasible options have run out for us, there is nothing we can do. That is what the King is telling the Lord, he is saying I now am helpless in this situation, but I know You are able, so “we look to You.”

When we come to that place of helplessness, we can place all of our hope and trust in the Lord and look for Him to act. Are you in that place, helpless, there is nothing more that you can do? Don’t give up, keep reading because our great God is amazing.

So, the story doesn’t end there, God hears and speaks to one in the crowd by His Spirit. The Spirit tells them not to be afraid, and not to be discouraged, because the battle is not theirs, it is the Lord’s. Can you feel the peace wash over you?

Think about your situation the one that has left you feeling helpless. The battle against evil is not ours. The battle against the sin in this world is not ours. Satan has come to deceive and destroy. He has come to discourage and send you into despair. Satan does not want you to find hope in God. But the Lord has told us the Truth, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). We only need to call on Jesus and the enemy will flee.

The Lord goes on to tell the Israelites exactly what to do, they must walk in faith knowing that “YAHWEH is with them.” God’s with us too, Immanuel literally means, “God with us.”  We have His presence, and access to His power.

Now you may be thinking, yes, but I prayed for this person who was dying in hopes that the Lord would save her life, but she died. And my friend’s son has been in prison for years, despite our prayers for his freedom. I know we often cannot understand the ways of the Lord.

The point of seeking Him is that in our helplessness there is no one else to go to that has the power to change things but Him. He is the one that can lead us, comfort us, and make His presence known to us in the midst of the situation. He is truly our Hope in our helplessness.

King Jehoshaphat listened to the Lord’s instruction through His Spirit, and followed His directions. They went out to the battlefield singing and praising God. Yes, in their helplessness and in their desperation, in the midst of this impossible situation, they trusted God and sang praises to His name.

They knew God’s faithfulness, and the Lord worked on their behalf setting an ambush against their enemies. Those that came to war against Israel ended up destroying each other. Israel found the place where the war was to take place covered in corpses.

And as if that wasn’t good enough, King Jehoshaphat and the people gathered the plunder. They were busy for three days gathering the abundance of goods and valuables. They found so much that they count even carry it all. The fourth day they spent praising God. They went back to the temple to worship the One who helped them in their helplessness.

We often strive in every and any way we can think of to make the situation work or at last to get it to seem better, we try everything humanly possible. And sadly enough, we often forget to even seek the Lord in our helplessness.

What situation in your life is leaving you feeling helpless right now? Have you tried everything? Are you discouraged and ready to give up? When we come to a place of desperation, let’s remember King Jehoshaphat’s prayer, “We do not know what to do but we look to You.” Truly, the Lord has the answer. And take time to recount to the Lord His amazing faithfulness as you cry out to Him in your desperation and helplessness.

I will be honest, there are times that I don’t think that His way is best. I have it all figured out and want it to go my way. But EVERY single time He works it out for His glory and I can tell you that He satisfies my heart through it. His ways are perfect. His way may not be easy, it may lead us through wilderness places, but He will meet us in them and hold us in His love.

His loving presence is what I need all of the time, and He is the One I will look to in my helplessness. What about you? Will you go to Him and cry out, Lord I need You!?

 

 

Lord, I Need You … I’m Exhausted

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jeremiah 31:25 NIV “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.

Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God, your hope comes from him.”

I have known the feelings of exhaustion during various times in my life, but the time that stands out the most is during the period of time when my dad’s Alzheimer’s continued to worsen. He didn’t know his yard, his home, or even where his bedroom was. It was difficult for him to remember a simple direction. His health condition had altered his whole demeanor. He had become short-tempered and easily angered. He didn’t understand what was happening. I guess he may have been fearful inside but was unable to communicate that, so it all came out in frustration. He needed us to be loving and patient, helpful, yet allowing him to keep his dignity. 

I was frequently running back and forth to my parents trying to be there for mom, so that she could get out of the house, and trying to help dad find some enjoyment in life. This was exhausting as I was working, I had a home to take care of, and a husband who was being neglected.

LORD, I NEED YOU!

Matthew 11:28-30 tells us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened. The Lord calls us to bring out weariness to Him and to find rest in Him. He tells us in Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…”

Whether you are physically, spiritually, mentally exhausted, or all three, your strength can be renewed. The Lord gives strength to the weary. He wants us to find our hope in HIm.

We live in a fallen world, our natural human strength gives out, but the Lord is able to meet us in that, He has an inexhaustible storehouse of resources at His fingertips. He knows that the pressures of life weigh heavy on us. Sometimes our burdens are too big to carry. We end up feeling as though we are ready to give up.

I screamed “I don’t want to do this anymore, it is too hard, it’s too much.” My tears fell. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through this time, but the Lord knew.

A number of years ago, a girlfriend and I attended a Dallas Holm’s concert at a church in a town about 25 miles from where we live. Dallas and his wife. Linda, sang and shared. The part of that amazing concert that sticks in my mind most, is not the beautiful music we heard, but something Dallas shared. He explained that at that time his wife was going through cancer. They had been crying out to the Lord, and one day as Linda prayed the Lord impressed on her heart Isaiah 45:3.  “I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”  (KJV)

“Treasures of darkness” are the gifts of a loving God, who knows where you are and what you are going through. I would have written Dad’s story completely differently, editing out Dad’s disease and the torment of Alzheimer’s. I would have written his story so that it wouldn’t have ended with him in a nursing home. It wouldn’t have seemed so overwhelming and exhausting if I would have made his life plan.

But, I am not God, and I don’t have the powers to make life as I desire. Instead, I had to go through this rough journey with Dad, and it was difficult, and we didn’t know the way. But the Lord did give me “treasures” in the darkness of this difficult time. He taught me amazing truths about His love, and how to love others, about His wisdom and how He was at work. The darkness was a place I didn’t want to be, I wanted the easy comforts of life, where I could enjoy energy and relaxation. I didn’t want to live in stress, in fear, and feel so vulnerable to the unknown. I didn’t want to be running constantly trying to be available in so many ways. I didn’t want to see all of the pain, or feel it. 

I must say, I didn’t see the Lord gifting me with these treasures during that time, I think I was too bleary-eyed. Sad and tired. But, now I look back, and I have to smile, my God was there holding me up, giving me strength. He helped me to feel His love for me, and He helped me demonstrate His love. He was there teaching me that I am not alone when I needed Him most. He was there teaching me that I couldl count on him, rely on Him, and depend on Him. He is trustworthy. He supported me and strengthened me to do what I needed to do. And above all, His name was glorified in it all.

Yes, I was exhausted, and I felt at the end of my rope. I cried hot tears, it wasn’t easy. But He gave me precious treasures that I can hold in my heart forever, and He showed me that He is my Eternal Hope and Strength for this life.

The Lord replenished my strength as I spent time with Dad. At times, I would catch a gleam in Dad’s eye when he found success at doing something. Or at other times he would tease me or laugh at something that amused him. My heart would be encouraged to find Dad,  as I knew him,  still in there. My dad had an amazing sense of humor.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 138:3 “As soon as I pray you answer me, you encourage me by giving me strength.” The Lord answers our prayers in ways that help us know Him more. If I had had the power to rewrite Dad’s life story, I would have missed out on some very beautiful treasures from the Lord, and now I can say that I am glad that the story was written the way it was. It was God’s way, and He always knows best. It wasn’t the easy or painless way, but it was the perfect way.

Lord, I need you! The song still brings me to tears as I remember, bittersweet memories. My heart prays that our exhaustion and desperation may always bring us to recognize our need for the Lord so that we can find the hope and strength He has for us.

Lord, I Need You!

Do you know the desperation of the words, “Lord, I need you?”

A few years ago my dad was suffering with Alzheimer’s and my mom was trying to care for him. I would drive up to their house a couple of times each week to give my mom help or give her a break whenever I could. It was a 70 mile drive one way and I remember feeling exhausted from working full-time as I drove. I was feeling very overwhelmed because of all that needed to be done at home, as well as the expectations of work and others.

It was as I was driving along thinking about all of this, feeling at the end of my rope, that Plumb’s song came on the radio, it is titled, “Lord, I Need You.” It’s words spoke to me. I screamed the words as tears streamed down my face. I told the Lord, I can’t keep doing this. I felt desperate.

  • I was exhausted, needy for peace and rest.
  • I felt alone in being needed and depended on and it felt way too stressful.
  • I felt afraid of what was happening to my dad.
  • I was grieving while he was still living because he was being ripped away little by little as his mind and abilities deteriorated.
  • I felt empty– it seemed like I was constantly running and doing, I didn’t have anymore to give.
  • I felt like my life was totally our of control and I was on a nonstop treadmill as things flew at me 90 miles an hour.
  • I felt incredibly helpless, because I couldn’t fix the situation. I couldn’t make dad better, and give mom her husband back,

It was with each of these feelings and emotions that my heart cried out “LORD I NEED YOU!”

I was in a place that I didn’t want to be. It was an extremely difficult place.

I want to share hope in the midst of difficult times. I know I am not alone in these feelings. Each of us go through these wilderness places of desperation, but there is hope in knowing that the Lord meets us in our neediness.

For the summer months of June through August I will be posting blogs only on Friday’s.

During June and July my blogs will be about needing the Lord in the midst of:

  • Exhaustion
  • Helplessness
  • Sadness or Depression
  • Fear
  • Emptiness
  • Loneliness
  • Feeling as if everything in life is out of control.

The Lord sees where we are and knows our hearts deepest needs. He is there to help us. Our souls can be refreshed in the midst of weariness and desperation as the Lord holds us in His love. It is my prayer that your soul will find refreshment as you read the posts.

The Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Doesn’t that verse just make you sigh a breath of relief? It’s like you have been walking around carrying a boulder on your back and then God tells you that He can take that boulder off. And beyond that, He offers to help you with whatever else you need. So you dump it off and breathe. Thank you Lord.

We can come to God’s throne. Really! How awesome is that.

“A throne is the seat of a sovereign; a throne of grace is designed to represent a Sovereign seat to dispense mercy and pardon.”

God is sovereign, He is in absolute control. So if it were just any throne, we should not be able to approach without invitation. And I can’t imagine why any king would call me to his throne. But we as believers have access, and it isn’t just any throne, it is a throne of grace. Jesus has given us access to our Creator God.

We come to the throne “not depending on our own merits but we come where a sufficient sacrifice has been offered for human guilt, and where we are assured God is merciful.”

We can come to the throne boldly, with confidence because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

“It is easy to be forgiven. All that needs to be done is to plead the merits of our Great High Priest and God is ready to pardon.”

Jesus is our Great High Priest. A priest in the Old Testament would make sacrifice for the sins of the people. But Jesus changed all of that. Jesus became the sacrifice for all of our sins. A sacrifice does not have to be done again and again. Jesus did it once and for all.

So we come to God’s throne of grace with confidence because of Jesus. And there at the throne “we received mercy and find grace.”

We are sinful people. There isn’t a day that goes by that we live without sin in our lives. We are in desperate need of forgiveness of sins.

1 John 1:9 tells us that “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” So we come to the throne and tell the Lord of our sin.

We come with a deep realization of our deep need for forgiveness whenever we come to the throne because we are approaching a Holy God. We remember what Jesus did for us and in humility stand before God desiring His mercy on us.

Our Sovereign God grants us mercy out of His amazing love for us, the love that gave us Jesus (John 3:16).

Then, once we are pardoned, we stand there before God in our desperation and we find grace for all of life. We find “strength, help, counsel, direction, support” and so much more.

How reassuring it is to know that we have this lifeline in prayer. The Lord offers us grace to help us in time of need.

He will help us :

  • in the good times when we want to believe we can do it all in our self-sufficiency, but find we can’t. We only need to recognize our neediness and call on Him in humility.
  • in the mundane, doldrums of life. He is present. we can turn to HIm and He will help us through. He knows our feelings. He can lead us to know our significance in Him if we only call to Him. He knows our worth in Jesus.
  • in the painful times of loss and grief. He knows the grief and pain we bear. we can bring our tears to Him and share our sorrows. He will give comfort and wrap us in His love. We must only come to the throne.
  • in difficult, troublesome times. He knows those days that nothing goes right and your frustration level is higher than the roof. We can come to the throne and ask for help. He knows our weakness, and can give us strength and counsel.
  • in the moments of desperation, where you don’t know which way to turn. He can lead us in wisdom to help us move forward encouraged.

The Lord is always available. We can come to Him at any time. He listens to the cry of our hearts and will respond with grace to help us. He welcomes our neediness and desires our dependence on Him.

Are you struggling today? You can go to Him right now. He will meet you where you are.  He is faithful and true to His promises. Let’s approach His throne with confidence, He has all we need for life. He gives us the rest we need.

Take your struggle to the throne of grace today.

(All quotes are taken from Albert Barnes Notes on the Whole Bible – public domain.)

Surrendering: True Self Desperate for God

Are you faking it in prayer? Just going through the motions? Do you know what I am talking about? Are there some days where you read off the list or ramble off some stuff with your heart far away? Does prayer seem empty and difficult at best, almost like a chore that must be done?

We know as Christians we are supposed to come to the Lord and pray. The Bible goes so far as to tell us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Has it gone through your mind, ‘without ceasing, I can’t get through 5 minutes’?

I know, I have been there, I have struggled with prayer.

I am learning and finding new excitement for prayer and new joy in prayer.

It was about a year ago that my church was listening to a series on prayer by David Platt. One of the questions that he asked had to do with personal desperation for God. It made me think. It made me realize my own self-sufficiency. I realized that I often did not feel desperate for the Lord and that left my prayers shallow and empty.

Then one day I was reading in Genesis 16 about Hagar and how she recognized the Lord as “the One who sees me” (verse 13). The Lord showed me some truths that day that touched my neediness deeply. I shared about this in a previous post “He Sees Me.”

It has been since then that I have been looking more closely at the precious names of God and realizing that they are really for me. He is really for me. I mean that the names of God help me to know His character more and help me see who He is in light of what I need.

Consider the following? Can you relate to any of these?

Do I feel invisible and unheard? He is the God who sees me (Genesis 16).

Do I feel wounded (in body or emotions) or sick? He is the God who heals (Exodus 15).

Do I feel needy in any area of life? He is the God who provides (Genesis 22).

Do I feel anxious and stressed? The Lord is Peace (Judges 6). He can give us peace.

Am I struggling with sin and having difficulty living the Christian life.  He is our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6).

Am I all alone and feeling discouraged or worried? He is there (Ezekiel 48:35).

He is whatever you need.

It seems so obvious, but yet so difficult. Too often we choose not to go deep, not to go to the heart of the matter. We cry out a list of symptoms and want Him to fix them. We ask Him to make it fast, easy, and painless. But we don’t recognize the real need beneath the symptoms, we don’t take time to search beneath the surface. And, in the end we remain stagnate in our prayer life, we don’t grow.

The Lord wants to change our hearts. He wants to change us from the inside out. I am realizing that I have to come to a place where I must recognize my need for Him in each area of life. I need to bring my heart wounds to Him for healing. I need to yield up the depths of my sin-sickness, all of it, all of the life-long effects, and seek Him, seek His wisdom.

I am finding Him meeting me in the depths with such an amazing understanding of my heart. He is such a personal God. He touches the pain inside with tender love. He holds me in the midst of the life-quakes, and the aftershocks. He helps me to know the reality of the belonging I have with Him. The intimacy of prayer is incredibly beautiful and satisfying.

Next time you go to Him in prayer, lay open your heart, share the desperation within, cry out and He will meet you. He will draw you in. You will find there is no sweeter place. You will yearn to go back often. You will learn to pray without ceasing, because being with Him is being home.

Go home today and find His loving presence.