Tag Archives: help


The sound of a circling airplane brings euphoria to those lost at sea.  The expectation of coming rescue brings new hope and the energy to struggle on.  When we struggle with strong temptation or other kinds of suffering, life can seem like being lost at sea.  The disciple named Peter knew all about that.  He wrote words of powerful encouragement for those who suffer and struggle as they attempt to live out their faith.  He knew how tough such a struggle seems and how often and easily we fail.  In 1 Peter 5:6-10 he gives important strategies to employ during the struggle (click HERE to review those).  And he ends that section by saying this: Help is on the way.  He wrote:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.   (1 Peter 5:10)

The most important word is easily overlooked.  It is “Himself!”  God is going to do what is needed – Himself.   How cruel it would be for the circling plane to drop a message to the folks floundering below that said, “You can do it!  Try harder!”  And yet, so many of us have heard that, “try harder” message from our religious leaders.  But Peter knew this truth:  What I cannot do, God will do.  Himself.

He will restore us to good operating condition.  Think of the restorations you’ve seen on TV or YouTube. A piece of rusty junk is transformed into a beautiful roadster, gleaming as it did right off the showroom floor.  God Himself will restore us.

You’ll no doubt think, “No way, this can’t be true…”   That’s why God Himself will confirm His work in you. He will let you test it and see for yourself that it is real, even as the restoration is being gradually accomplished.

Not only that, but He will strengthen those areas of weakness in you that have caused so much trouble, equipping you to face the continued temptations and dangers of real life.

Ultimately, God will establish you.  When footers are poured under new foundations, their function is to establish the stability of the building.  Their job is to keep the building steady in the midst of all the forces that try to move it.

Help is coming.  But why has it been delayed?  Peter wrote, “after you have suffered awhile”   In verse 6, he wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,…”  God knows what we are enduring and when is the proper time to end it.  Like a coach or trainer, He allows us to suffer temporarily as part of how He works to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. Remember: “He cares for you” (v. 7), and hold on to His promise of rescue.

A circling plane cannot rescue shipwrecked sailors.  It functions as a promise that help is coming.  That promise, that hope, makes all the difference.  1 Peter 5:10 serves us like that as well.

Beware of the Dog

According to Jesus, some folks act like dogs and pigs.  He said, give ’em a wide berth:

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.  (Matthew 7:6)

Maybe that doesn’t sound like Jesus to you.  What does He mean?  The first principle in figuring that out is to ask, what has He been talking about?  What is the context of what He said?  In this case, Jesus had just taught us not to condemn others (Matthew 7:1-2) but rather, to approach them to help with compassion and humility, fully aware of our own faults (Matthew 7:3-5).  If this is a continuation of that topic, then He means, realize that there are some people who are not ready or able to receive your help.  Trying to help those people may truly make it worse.

The dogs of Jesus’ day were not domesticated; they were wild and dangerous.  Pigs, too – and they were also considered unclean for the observant Jew.  We’ve all encountered people who, at least for the moment, were acting like dogs and pigs.  The best and most compassionate help, as valuable as it may otherwise be, will have no value to a person in that condition.  Don’t try to force it on him.

When Jesus refers to something sacred or holy, it is important to recognize that things we do in obedience to Him are sacred and holy.  Water to the thirsty, clothes for the needy – these are sacred acts when motivated by an appreciation for Jesus’ teachings about reality and about God.  So too, would be a genuinely compassionate and humble attempt to help someone stuck in destructive behavior.  So too, would be an attempt to explain the amazing truth about Jesus and the wonderful life that awaits those who comprehend it.  But, as sacred as they are, those acts only have value – they only really help – if they are received by the person to whom they are offered.  When that person reacts with hostility and anger, it is time to back off, for your own well being and to preserve the value and effectiveness of what has been offered.  There may be a better time.

As I write, I recall in my own life, the many times I acted as a wild dog and an irreverent pig.  Those who tried to shove “help” down my throat were angrily turned away.  I also humbly recall that God did not give up on me.