The Lord helps those, that help themselves. Well, not really. I heard a politician quote these words when he contracted the Coronavirus. His intent was that he was going to go to doctor and listen to the medical advice and get better. All I could think was, well, actually, the Lord is in control here. How many others, who listen to the advice of the medical community, suffer and pass? How many prayed and lost their lives? It is clear, the Lord is in control. The sun shines on the good and the bad and the Lord’s ways are only known best to Him.
The Lord helps those that help themselves is not biblical. In fact, if anything, the Bible consistently states that He alone is in control. The entirety of the Psalms are a cry for help from God because we are so helpless without Him.
“Look upon me, have pity on me, for I am alone and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart; bring me out of my distress.” Psalms 25:16-17
“May God send help from heaven to save me, shame those who trample upon me. May God send fidelity and mercy.” Psalms 57:4
From the New Testament: “They woke him (Jesus) and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Mark 4:38-39
I get it, that you can’t just pray for a steak dinner and expect one to magically appear. In this way, yes, if you want a steak, you’re going to have to go out and obtain the steak. But at the same time, don’t think for one second, that the steak isn’t a gift from God. Rather, there’d be no steak if it weren’t for the vast creation of God’s hand.
God does delight in your active participation in His plan. As a young man, I prayed that I would find a wonderful woman to marry who would make me a better man and through our marriage, would help me have a deeper relationship with God. I then went out looking for that woman. I met my future wife in college at a swim team party. I didn’t make her be at that college and I didn’t make her join the swim team that would set forth our meeting. I didn’t do anything to facilitate that chance meeting other than I was out and about on the wings of a prayer. I was though, an active participate in God’s plan for me.
My prayer wasn’t answered right away. I had to go through many challenges and pitfalls on bad relationship after bad relationship before I fell in love with the right one. Those tribulations were medicinal, teaching me about relationships and better recognizing what I needed from a partner. I didn’t help myself! I blindly and stupidly stumbled my way through a perfect lesson that lead to the answer of my prayer.
Finally, there is a wrong order to stating, the Lord helps those that help themselves. In this statement, the self is center stage, or at least sharing a stage with the Lord our God. God is more than a coach who yells, “Go get ‘em!” I love Michael Phelps and his accomplishments are great with 28 Olympic medals. While his accomplishments are great, we must remember, Michael Phelps didn’t create himself. Michael didn’t make himself 6 foot 4. He didn’t choose to be born in Baltimore, MD, near the greatest swim coach and program in the US, the North Baltimore Aquatic Club learning under Bob Bowman. Michael didn’t choose to have a father that was a star football player. Michael took his talents and his drive for success to the pool and God delighted, no doubt, in the accomplishments but all glory and honor is due to the Lord our God, creator of life on earth. Michael didn’t help himself, rather, God facilitated and permitted Michael to win. God loves us and His gifts are plenty!