I think you have often heard a question you could not answer: Why doesn’t God help me? I go to the church often, I pray often, I give financial support to church projects, but I fail again and again. What can I do to receive God’s help?
I’m sure you’ve heard these complaints, but you didn’t know what to say.
Today’s Gospel passage from Mark, which we reflect on in our daily devotional, addresses this problem.
Devotional for Today January 13
“Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them.” (full text at Mark 2:18-22)
The followers of the Pharisees were convinced that they had to do something to get God on their side. They thought that God had to be bribed in some way to be an ally.
But notice. All the world’s religions and all the pagan movements are filled with this conviction. You have to work hard to draw God’s attention to you, to earn His love, to create harmony with Him. And you can expect to get reward for your efforts.
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This is why various religions have even developed whole systems for achieving harmony with the deity, with the “cosmic energy”. From yoga, breathing exercises, positive thinking, to seclusion in a monastery in the mountains of Tibet, and radical separation from the world.
Various religious gurus and teachers have even developed systems of spiritual development, steps, and levels of approach to God. These steps of spirituality are difficult to climb. Often only monks living an exclusive lifestyle are able to do so.
They claim that the prize for your lifelong efforts to climb to the heights of spirituality from below will be the opportunity to get closer to “deity”.
But where is the problem with this bottom-up climbing?
New Wine into New Wineskins
Today we discover Jesus’ answer that this is not where people begin their spiritual journey.
It begins with the realization that the true, the only, the living God is always the first to take a step towards the man. He is the Creator of all what exists. That is why the initiative always comes from His side, not from man.
We don not need search expedition to meet God personally, face to face. Because God from the very beginning stands right in front of you. You don’t have to climb mountains, you just have to finally open your eyes, your heart, and your mind.
Understand, God is standing right here and now right in front of you.
And Jesus is very clear: The bridegroom is with the wedding guests.
This means that in God’s eyes, meeting a person is a celebration, like a wedding. God is waiting for the man, just as the bridegroom waits for his bride at the altar with love and excitement.
Why doesn’t God help me?
God is ready to help you. But you do not accept God. Why? Because you are busy looking for God. You are looking for God, but you don’t see Him standing right in front of you. That is the real problem for many people.
When we ask: “God, help me”, God hears us. He always answers:
- He does not answer in the way we imagine.
- God gives what is best for you, not what you want. Because He sees the future.
- His help is already here in your life.
- But maybe you are still blind.
Stop Looking, Start Living
There is no need to search for the truth. Why? Because it doesn’t hide. Truth needs to be known and explored, because it is right there, right in front of you.
So it is with God. God does not need to be sought, He does not need to be pursued. Why? Because He is already here. You need to know God and live with Him. Today, right now! You need to celebrate life with God.
Live with God and you will experience all His blessings
This is the first and essential step.
And yes, a Christian must also pray, fast, and do spiritual exercises. For these are the means that help, temper, and train us for a quality life with God.
Prayer for Today
Almighty God, Creator and Ruler of the world, we thank you that you are not far from us, that you are near. We can even feel you physically through Jesus Christ. Open our eyes today, open our ears to hear you. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.