What should I make for dinner?
I don’t know if I can solve another conflict between my kids. It’s so endless … How I wish I could stop their sibling rivalry for good! It’s so frustrating …
Oh shoot … I forgot to throw the sheets in the dryer before I left to go to my workout. Oh well … I’ve got to remember to respond to that email and post on my Instagram feed when I get home, too …
Should I thaw chicken again for dinner?
Sound familiar? Internal dialogue crowds my mind most days as a woman, wife, and mother. I’m much more likely to think about these practical survival needs than I am to think about the Holy Spirit. He’s not going to tell me what to fix for dinner.
Or might He help me with seemingly mundane requests if I just ask?
The Holy Spirit is our Helper
When Jesus introduced the Spirit to His disciples He used the name “Helper.” Just as we have a name most people know us by, so the Holy Spirit is most often called Helper. In Greek, the word is paraclete, which means comforter, advocate, or counselor. It’s a name with layers of meaning.
On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus was with His disciples, His dearest friends on earth. In the familiar comfort of shared camaraderie, they gathered to enjoy the Passover meal. Bound together by this Jewish tradition and by their loyalty to their Master, they listened once again as He taught them. Though the 12 were unaware, Jesus knew these would be His last moments alone with them, so His final instructions were intensely focused.
Tenderly woven throughout those hours, from Judas’s departure to Jesus’ entrance into the Garden of Gethsemane, are beautiful words of comfort and hope, of deep love and concern for His soon-to-be-devastated friends. He knew paralyzing fear and bewilderment would be theirs by morning. By Passover’s dusk deep grief and lost hope would banish sleep as their minds replayed the nightmare of the Crucifixion.
Jesus knew we, too, would face days or seasons of fear, great loss, and confusion when we have no idea what our next step should be. His eternal words of comfort are for you and me, His disciples today.
He said to them just as He says to us, You will be okay because I will send you the Helper: “Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God; believe also in me” … … “he dwells with you and will be in you” … “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you” (John 14:1, 17-18).
Jesus wanted His disciples, and us, to hear His heart of love: I will not abandon you. I will not leave you alone and without help. Like the many times I reassured my little ones, “Mommy will be back. I promise. I will not abandon you.” So Jesus does the same with us. The Helper will be with you forever.
The Helper has history
These were not new concepts for the men and women who followed Jesus. Even nominal Jews, Gentiles, and other nationalities knew the stories of Israel’s famous King David, who was helped by God. David, the author of most of the Psalms, cried out to God, “O Lord, be my helper!” (Psalm 30:10). He also reminded himself and his people, “God is my helper; The Lord is the upholder of my life” (Psalm 54:4) and, “The Lord is on my side as my helper” (Psalm 118:7).
Sprinkled from Genesis to Revelation are a plethora of verses describing the help of the Lord for His people. Here in this graphic is a list of some of the ways God helps us, His people.
Why don’t we go to Him more quickly?
The God who made us, who watched the sad fall of Adam and Eve, knows we need lots of help. The problem is we usually don’t go to Him unless we are desperate.
Why? Because we have too many ways we think we can help ourselves first.
When I was parenting full time, I eagerly read all the best books on discipline, birth order, how to raise boys, how to raise girls, growing creative kids, and more. When all this advice didn’t work as promised, I often asked friends, or my husband, who didn’t have answers either.
Looking back, my reasons for not asking the Spirit for advice were:
- My impatience … I wanted answers now.
- My fear … I was afraid He wouldn’t reply at all, and I didn’t want the disappointment.
- My misunderstanding … I secretly believed He was too busy with more important crises in the world than to help me with my kids.
- My pride … I should be able to handle this, I reasoned.
My God was too small and my pride was too big.
Does that describe you too? Do you go online to look for help in parenting or marriage, or read a book, before asking the Holy Spirit for help?
Moms are especially guilty of the shoulds. We think, I should be able to figure this out … I should be able to handle my kids … I should be in a better place in my marriage by now … This shouldn’t freak me out! Believing we should be able is nothing but pride. It’s merely an attitude that says, “I don’t need God’s help for this. I’m depending on self. I can figure it out.”
But we can’t figure it out. We do need His help!
There is nothing wrong with seeking help from books, online content, or even godly mentors. But the Helper wants us to go to Him first. Ask Him for wisdom, ideas, and guidance to the right information.
Thankfully, God does for all of His children what He did with me. He patiently waits for us to realize our need. He knows that we will eventually see that we can’t rescue ourselves, can’t manage it all, can’t be the perfect mom, wife, or friend.
Recognizing I can’t is what the Spirit, our Helper, longs to hear.
Man’s help is more a one-size-fits-all, but God relates to us and helps us as individuals, each unique in His sight. God is intensely personal with us. He gives me what I need, which is different than what you may need.
In our culture, we often believe we are more advanced and much smarter than previous generations. The truth is our hearts and our self-will … the flesh … remain equally depraved and utterly unchanged.
We are still like the children of Israel who ran to other countries for help when threatened by an enemy instead of going to God, their maker and defender. As the prophet Isaiah lamented, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in chariots … but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!” (Isaiah 31:1).
Jesus said it this way: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all” (John 6:63). So why would we rely on ourselves or anyone else over the Holy Spirit, who has the answers and help for this life?
What do you need help with?
Have you noticed how much of the Old Testament is about battles and wars? It seems so male focused; it’s not what I deal with as a woman.
But as a mom, many of my days felt like a battle. I had six children whose wills were often against mine.
Oh, how we need the Helper!
But the battle isn’t just with our children. Your marriage is always in the enemy’s crosshairs. Every marriage Satan can destroy creates a tsunami of destruction with children, in extended families, and in our communities. The father of lies has deceived more than one generation into believing children are resilient and divorce is okay because personal happiness is the highest goal in life.
Oh, how we need the Helper!
Complicating both of these battle zones is the internal conflict we women face every day with enemies common to us all: comparison, jealousy, fear, insecurity, feeling unloved or unappreciated or unseen, anger or frustration, feeling inadequate or irrelevant. Add the name of your own place of defeat that drains your life away.
Oh, how we need the Helper.
Our emotions and thinking can be fed by the whispered lies of our enemy. Or our minds and hearts can be fed by our Helper who uses God’s Word to strengthen us, to shield us from enemy fire, to provide solutions to our many needs, to heal us, to remind us of His great love and His ever near presence. He will be your victory!
Psalm 103:14 tells us, “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Because of His great love, He is eager to be our help, every day in countless situations and circumstances if we will ask.
Invite Him into the mundane moments of your days. Talk to Him about everything, even what to cook for dinner, thanking Him for His every provision. As Philippians 4:6 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”