God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

April 27, 2015 | Chris Payne

“God helps those who help themselves.” 

75% of Americans agree with this statement.

68% of Evangelical Christians agree with this statement.  (George Barna, 2001)

According to Talbot Seminary, 80% of people believe the statement “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse! (Biola Magazine, Spring 2014).

I have a lot of emotions when I read these statistics, sad being first and foremost. It worries me about the condition of the Church. It makes me angry too. I’m angry because behind these statistics are people who don’t know who God is. They believe a lie about themselves and God.

It’s one thing to read a statistic like this in a George Barna book; It’s something all together different to see this statistic lived out in the constant crisis of life around you. Ironically, it is this false belief about God that causes many missed opportunities to learn about God.

Crisis can foster great redemptive purposes. Crisis reveals character. It reveals the character of the one who struggles. Most of all, it reveals the character of the God they follow in their struggles.

Many of us have had the privilege of journeying with someone through their “valley of the shadow of death.” It is revealing for all involved, embarrassingly so. What do we say in those moments about God? Where is He anyway? Why is this all happening now?

To walk with people who are experiencing struggles in life with their understanding of God is sacred. Sacred because something holy happens when my theories about God turn into my stories about God. Struggle always accomplishes this.

If God only helps those who help themselves…Then, what is being revealed in our struggles? What sacred work could possibly be happening?

Walking through struggle, or walking with someone through struggle, will be revealing.

It is sacred because it is revealing. But, there is more to struggle than a reveal of character.

There is an opportunity to change, to rethink, to renew. Who is God in my crisis?

Who is God in my helpless state? When I could not help myself?

The answer we have to give in this moment is what our community desperately needs to know.

“…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – II Corinthians 12:9