The Lord is with me; He is my Helper. I look in triumph on my enemies…..Be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:7; Hebrews 13:5-6)
Echoing Scripture, Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) reminded us that God commands us to be content. We have a Father who is faithful, our Fortress, our Friend, and our Helper. Do we believe that? It’s true. We can’t possibly be contented without trusting that God does know what He’s doing. His strong hands are engineering a universe of unimaginable proportions and complexity, yet He makes note of the smallest seed and the tiniest sparrow. The Lord is not too busy to keep records of even my falling hair. In our dark times we are tempted to think that He has overlooked us, but He hasn’t.1
This continues our series commenting on Scripture themes selected by Elisabeth. If you missed them, you can read What God Is to Me: Elisabeth Elliot (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3), Christ is My Hope, My Trust, My Confidence; Christ is My Strong Tower; Christ is My Inheritance; Christ is My Rock; Christ is My Helper (Part 1)
I continue using Romans Chapter 8 to explore some of ways that God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) helps Christ’s followers:
- Christ has reconciled His followers to God and taken away that slavish fear of God’s judgment and punishment which unbelievers ought to have. God’s perfect love for us in Christ casts out the bad kind of fear. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit of Adoption, by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”2 The Spirit allows and enables us to come to God as our Heavenly Father who loves us deeply and wants the very best for us. The Spirit helps us continue through this life in faith, turning constantly toward God, and addressing God with the intimate term Abba, which means Papa. “If you love God, you cannot be at a loss for something to say to Him, something for your hearts to pour out before Him, which His grace has already put there….When God intends great mercy for His people, the first thing He does is set them a-praying.”3
Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, That calls me from a world of care, And bids me at my Father’s throne, Make all my wants and wishes known! In seasons of distress and grief, My soul has often found relief, And oft escaped the tempter’s snare, By thy return, sweet hour of prayer.4
- Christ’s Spirit gives us an inner testimony, assuring us that we are truly God’s children and co-heirs with Jesus. During this earthly life, believers share in Christ’s sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.5 Jesus’ suffering on the cross was eternally sufficient and adequate to save us. In John 19:20, Christ said, “It is finished,” tetelestai in Greek, an accounting term that means “paid in full.” And Jesus also warned us, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”6
Come, Holy Spirit, in love Shed on us from above Thine own bright ray: Divinely good thou art; Thy sacred gifts impart To gladden each sad heart: O come today.7
- Christ guarantees that the sufferings of this present world cannot compare to the glory that will be revealed to us when Jesus returns for us and our bodies will be completely redeemed. Our risen and glorified Lord is Himself our blessed hope. His triumph over sin and death provides the objective pledge of our final glorification. Jesus’ resurrection guarantees His followers’ resurrection. Our final home is not just spiritual life in paradise, but new body and soul life in a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. Christ will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away. No wonder Scripture says: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love Him.8 What a day that will be!
And I shall see Him face to face, And tell the story—saved by grace; And I shall see Him face to face, And tell the story—saved by grace.9
- Christ says that although we are weak, the Almighty Spirit is here to help us. When we don’t know what to pray for or how to pray rightly the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words.10 The Holy Spirit prays for all God’s people. I love this! God our Father knows what we need before we ask. God the Son intercedes for us on His throne in Heaven. And God the Spirit is down here in us and with us, comforting, counseling, guiding, and praying for us. So when Jesus’ people pray we join in a Trinitarian conversation that’s been going on before time began. Amazing! God encourages us to press on in following Christ, because it’s easy to get discouraged in this fallen world. So the Lord urges us to keep concentrating on our glorious future with Him to help us serve Him here and now. Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory. And He says, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.11
Spirit, strength of all the weak, Giving courage to the meek, Teaching faltering tongues to speak; Hear us, Holy Spirit.
May we soon, from sin set free, Where your work may perfect be, Jesus’ face with rapture see: Hear us, Holy Spirit.12
Elisabeth Elliot said that the deepest things she learned in her life came through suffering. When her husband Jim died, the Spirit of God brought to her mind God’s words: “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no Savior.” She was raised in a faithful Christian family, so she had heard that truth all her life. But now the experience of God’s help became living and powerful to her when she was in the bottom of the barrel, in dark tunnels. She said that the lesson: “I am the Lord” ought to be one that we learn without going through deep waters, but apparently there isn’t any other way.13
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. You never grow tired or weary and your understanding no one can fathom. You give strength to the weary and power to the weak. We hope in you, Lord. Make us soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint. Help us we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
To be continued
Notes (various translations): 1 From Keep A Quiet Heart (2004). 2 Rom 8:15; 1 John 4:18. 3 Matthew Henry. 4 From the hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” 5 Rom 8:16-17. 6 John 15:18-25. 7 From the hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, in Love.” 8 Rom 8:18-25; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21:4; 1 Cor 2:9. 9 From the hymn “Some Day the Silver Cord Will Break.” 10 Rom 8:26-27. 11 1 Cor 15:57-58. 12 From the hymn “Spirit, Strength of All the Weak.” 13 Adapted from Tabletalk Magazine, February 1, 1989.