Mark D. Roberts


[J]oyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
     whose hope is in the LORD their God.

The other day I needed an unusual piece of hardware. I wasn’t sure what
it was called, but figured I could find it in my local Home Depot. When
I got there, I walked up and down the aisles, scanning the shelves for
this odd little piece of metal. Before long, one of the workers
approached me with a predictable question: “Hello. May I help you find
something?” I gave a predictable answer. “No thank you,” to which he
responded, “Well, let me know if I can help you.”

the potentially helpful man walked away, I wondered why I had declined
his help. On the surface, I didn’t know what to call the piece I
needed. But I could surely have described its shape and function. So
why didn’t I do this? In part, I didn’t want to reveal my ignorance.
I’m a man, after all. Shouldn’t I know the name of every piece of
hardware in the world? But this wasn’t the whole story. As I prowled
the aisles of Home Depot, I thought of my long history of not asking
for help. Self-Reliance has gripped my soul for decades, even before I
read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay by this name when I was in high
school. It just feels wrong to need help, even when I do in fact need
help, even when help would make my life better and, indeed, more joyful.

be fully honest here, I don’t even like to rely on God for help.
There’s some prideful part of me that thinks I can do everything by my
own strength, presenting my life to God as a self-reliant sacrifice. I
know this is silly and, in fact, sinful. But I must do battle all the
time with my peculiar penchant for living out the classic line from an
old Anacin commercial: “I’d rather do it myself!”

Yet, by
God’s grace, I am learning to look to him for help. Sometimes this
comes when I botch up my life so badly that I have no other choice.
Sometimes, however, the actual experience of God’s help so impresses me
that I am encouraged to turn to him more readily. The more I see myself
clearly, and the more I know God clearly, the more I realize just how
much I do need his help . . . and how ready he is to supply it.

as I grow in grace, I am learning to trust the truth of Psalm 146:5:
“[J]oyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose
hope is in the LORD their God.”

Do you find it easy to ask for or to rely upon others for help? If so,
why? If not, why not? What encourages to rely on God for help?

PRAYER: O Lord, in my head, I know
full well that relying on you is best. I know that I am limited and
sinful, and that self-reliance will fail me. Yet there is something in
me that rebels against getting help, even from you. Forgive me, Lord,
for my arrogance and pride. Forgive me for my foolishness, in thinking
that I can “do it myself.”

By your grace, Lord, help me, yes,
help me to turn to you for help in all things. May I learn to rely on
you, not just when I’m in a jam, not just when I’ve made a mess of
things, but each moment of each day. May I learn to practice your
presence in all things, even in activities that seem to require nothing
from you. May I be open to the “more” that you might want to do in and
through me as I trust in you and lean on your power.

Gracious God, may I know each day the joy of having you as my helper and my hope.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.


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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (, a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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