Helplessness

sad and helpless woman sitting on the floor in the dark

No one likes to feel helpless.  There are many examples in the Bible where people were powerless to do anything in the situations they faced.  When Hagar, the Egyptian servant was in the wilderness with her son, the water soon ran out.  The Bible says,  she left the boy in the shade of a bush.  Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yardsaway. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears.  Her child was dying of thirst and she couldn’t do anything about it.  Despair filled her.

God heard the boy’s cries and an angel spoke to Hagar, asking her what was wrong.  He told her to go to her son and comfort him.  Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well.  She immediately filled her container with water and gave the boy some (Genesis 21:15-19). God had turned a hopeless situation completely around.

One night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city of Dothan where the prophet Elisha was. He was angry because he discovered that Elisha was informing the king of Israel of his plans.  When Elisha’s servant got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere.  He panicked.

“Ah, my lord, what will we do now?” he cried out to Elisha.

“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!”  Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened his servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.  A lot of times a situation may seem hopeless to us God has everything under control–though we might not know it at the time.

Elisha took charge of the situation by asking God to make the advancing Aramean army blind.  God did as he asked.  Elisha then proceeded to tell the army that they were in the wrong city.  He offered to take them to the man they were looking for.  He led them to Samaria.

As soon as they had entered Samaria, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, now open their eyes and let them see.” And the Lord did, and they discovered that they were in Samaria.

When the king of Israel saw them, he shouted to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them?”

“Of course not!” Elisha told him. “Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.”

So the king made a great feast for them and then sent them home to their king. After that, the Aramean raiders stayed away from the land of Israel” (2 Kings 6:12-23).  God had turned a hopeless situation into a comical one.

And example was when Peter was walking towards Jesus on the water.  He was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the high waves around him.  Panicking he began to sink.  He cried out to Jesus, “Save me, Lord!” Jesus reached out and grabbed his hand.  He said to Peter, “You don’t have much faith. Why did you doubt me?” And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped (Matthew 14:30-32).  When we take our eyes off Jesus our situation becomes hopeless.

We will experience helplessness at some point in our lives.  It is a terrible feeling.  We feel powerless.  But God is always there to remind us that He is in control.  Whenever you feel helpless again, remember, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea” (Psalm 46:1, 2).

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