Where Does My Help Come From?
I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
- Psalm 121:1-4 (NIV)
Many of us have faced challenges that cause us to lose sleep and lose peace. There was a time I had to make decisions on treatment options. In medical situations, the doctor diagnoses and advises his intervention plan, the final decision belongs to the patient.
How does one keep a cool head when thrust into confusion and fear? I learnt that when one becomes a patient, one needs to be patient - to listen for ‘the still small voice’, wait for answers to myriads of questions, and to patiently wait for the test results.
Peace scatters in swirling currents. I was like the Bighorn Sheep in the painting below. He is balancing precariously, marooned and deafened by rushing waters.
The Bighorn Sheep is a species found in North America. Though large and heavy, they can effortlessly balance on ledges that are only two inches wide, jump 20 feet and race up a mountain at 24 km/hour. The bighorn sheep in my painting above, which I have named, Leggy-Long-Legs, is stuck. Can you see how he lifts his eyes to the heavens? He is in that moment unable, not disabled. He calls for help.
At that time of fear and confusion when I needed to make decisions for medical treatment, most of my prayers were simply, “Help! Help me, Lord! What shall I do?”
The verses in Psalm 121 pierced through the noise to still my troubled soul. At night my restless mind heard, “The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." (Psalm 121:8) When you awake, I am still with you.” b (Psalm 139:17b )
“Call for help.’’ That was what I did – to the God of my life, family, and a few close friends. And then, I waited for support and rescue. Help came. God showed me His faithfulness over the years since I met Him. I am grateful, to God, my Saviour, Counsellor and Friend for Life.
When life gets too difficult for us to navigate, help is always at hand. Look up! Call for help. Dig deeper into our interior. God provides us the resources for our support – our personal knowledge and experiences of His Unfailing Presence, and the help He supplies through our support system of family, friends and community.
Do not stay silent. Are there obstacles to our willingness to call for help? Such as, not wanting to be a burden to others.
Or, we experienced rejections and have not forgiven those who had ignored our calls. I have learnt that people can change over time. They may have, since our last call, become available. Help comes from people who are willing and able. But sometimes they are unavailable due to commitments to other priorities - work, family, studies... Give people a chance to care. Ask them. Accept what they offer.
All experiences are lessons in themselves. Regularly remember personal encounters of God’s presence. I learnt that God is faithful and will not abandon us at our times of need. Stay close to God. When our darkness turns to light, we shine the way for others. “I lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
I invite you to reflect and respond:
Part I: Reflection Exercise:
What resonates with you while reading this piece?
Are you feeling stuck or are struggling with issue(s)? What are these? Naming them gives some clarity and relief.
What is holding you back from asking for help?
Identify your Resources for Support with this question, “Where does my help come from?”
(a) On a piece of paper, draw a small circle, and write ‘Where Does My Help Come From’
Continue, drawing bigger outer circles. In each layer write your sources of help. When you complete the exercise, you will have a series of concentric circles like a dart board. That is your support system.
For example, in the innermost circle is ‘God’ with Bible verses of His promises, next circle – names of family members, next circle – names of close friends, next circle – community support like church, help agencies…
See the illustration below:
(b) Make a List of Your Resources of Support, and
(c) Spontaneously write the Bible verses which remind you of God’s promises of his presence and love. Never mind if you cannot remember the reference verses. You can look them up later.
- List your Grateful Things for the day. (Research shows that taking time to express our gratefulness contributes to our personal wellness – mental, physiological, emotional, spiritual…)
Remember you are never alone. God is always present with His Unfailing Love.
Part II – Feedback to Self
After you have completed Part I, read through your responses again.
Become aware of your feelings when you were writing (name them), what thoughts came? Sensations? Any insights gained?
Share with your friend(s) what you feel comfortable. Join your growth group if you do not already have one. We grow when we share God’s faithfulness.