"Lord, I Need Help!"
We all need help, and many of us look for it in all the wrong places! It isn’t weakness to ask for help, it is smart! Whenever we think we can do it alone we are deceiving ourselves and heading for disaster. Doing it ‘my way’ doesn’t have happy endings. The smartest thing we can do is to go to God for help!
Psalm 107 is filled with thanks to God for helping his people when they were in distress. Four times in the 43 verses do we read the words, “Lord, help! They cried out in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.” (Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28)
Over and over in the book of Psalms we see the Psalmist asking God for help. (Psalm 28:1, 31:22, 60:11-12, 69:17-18, 32; 71:1-3, 108:12, 109:26, 141:1, 8-10) Other times the plea becomes more intense as they ‘cry out to God’. (Psalm 34:15-16, 40:13, 54:1, 55:16-17, 57:2-3,70:1,5 , 118:5-7, 119:146, 120:1-2 130:1-2, 142:1-7)
"O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge."
"The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him, He hears their cries for help and rescues them."
The Psalmists were calling on God because they trusted in Him and knew He would answer, the Lord was their chosen fortress, their refuge in times of trouble. They cried out and ran to God whenever trouble arose.
In the fifteenth chapter of Matthew is an example of one who pours out her heart to God. The woman is sincere and desperately wanted her daughter to be healed. Let’s read this story and see how Jesus heard the mother’s cry for help and her daughter was healed—snatched from the door of death. (Psalm 107:19-20)
Jesus then left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter has a demon in her, and it is severely tormenting her.”
But Jesus gave her no reply—not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to leave,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
Then He said to the woman, “I was sent only to help the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep—not the Gentiles.”
But she came and worshiped him and pleaded again, “Lord, help me!”
“It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs,” He said.
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “But even dogs are permitted to eat crumbs that fall beneath their master’s table.”
“Woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
We read in the cover story that it isn’t enough to just say you are a Christian to have the benefits of God as your fortress. To have God as your fortress takes commitment, trust, loyalty, and a righteous lifestyle. This is available to everyone, not just a few, but to everyone who wants it bad enough!
Notice how the woman wasn’t put off by Jesus. She knew He was the one, and only one, that could help her. Even when the disciples ignored her and were sinfully rude to her, she didn’t back off. Don’t you just love her perseverance? Isn’t it incredible that she knew what she wanted, where to get it and then humbly placed her request to God, Almighty?
Remember that it is possible to fool other people with phony attitudes but not God. God sees the real us, all the time. Jesus saw she was the real deal, genuine in her faith. She wasn’t just coming to God on a whim, she had great faith. Jesus acted as though he was ignoring the woman, but he wasn’t. He was merely testing her; testing her sincerity. When he saw that she had great faith, he granted her request and the daughter was instantly healed. Jesus saw her righteous persistence, that was rooted and grounded in faith, and she was blessed.
E.M Bounds describes the woman’s attitude as importunity. “Here, importunity is demonstrated, not as a stark impertinence, but as with the persuasive characteristics of humility, sincerity, and fervency. We are given a glimpse of a woman’s clinging faith, a woman’s bitter grief, and a woman’s spiritual insight. The importunity of this distressed mother, won her the victory, and materialized her request. Yet instead of being an offense to the Savior, it drew from him a word of wonder, and glad surprise. ‘O woman, great is thy faith!’
Importunity is the pressing of our desires upon God with urgency and perseverance, the praying with that tenacity and tension which neither relaxes nor ceases until its plea is heard, and its cause is won. Importunate praying is the earnest, inward movement of the heart toward God. It is the throwing of the entire force of the spiritual man into the exercise of prayer. Importunate praying never faints nor grows weary; it is never discouraged; it never yields to cowardice, but is buoyed up and sustained by a hope that knows no despair, and a faith which will not let go. Importunate praying has patience to wait and strength to continue. It never prepares itself to quit praying, and declines to rise from its knees until an answer is received.”
I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.