Where Does My Help Come From?
As I looked forward to settling into my new role as a mother, I was given a role that I didn’t anticipate — caregiver for my husband.
A couple of years after we got married, Dave developed a debilitating nerve condition that afflicted both of his arms. My athletic, cheerful husband became disabled and discouraged. When our first child grew past about eight pounds, it broke Dave’s heart (and mine) that his chronic pain and atrophy wouldn’t allow him to hold his newborn. We needed help and hope.
We Lift Up Our Eyes for Help
Our “new normal” as a family of three seemed to be overly complicated now, and I struggled to adapt gracefully. After undergoing a major surgery on his arms, Dave began to recover. I was relieved and hopeful.
But then, after we moved overseas to begin a new ministry, his health took a turn for the worse. In the darkest nights, my husband would pace the floor in agony. While he wrestled, I would stay awake, alternatively worrying and praying. The trouble-filled days couldn’t pass by fast enough.
We had an urgent need for practical help with daily life — extra hands around the house — and at times God did send that kind of help. At other times, God gave us the ability to simplify our routines. Sometimes God sent so much practical help our way that we felt spoiled!
The psalmist sings a question, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?” (Psalm 121:1). He doesn’t miss a beat and answers himself, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).
My help comes from the Lord. Today, eight years after those initial dark nights, Psalm 121:1–2 tastes sweeter to me than ever before. After standing on that rock-solid truth knowing my life depended on it, it has become at once more filling, more certain, and more weighty. My husband is still disabled, and I’m still the primary caregiver for him and our four kids, but time is teaching me how sweet it is to look to Jesus for help.
Where Do You Look?
Psalm 121 would have been sung as Israel approached “the hill of the Lord” to worship him (Psalm 15:1; 24:3). But the mountain on which Israel met with God was not the only possible object of their attention. “The hills” — on which many nations worshiped their false gods — could have appeared as alluring havens of hope, or intimidating causes of concern.
Either way, the psalmist’s appraisal of his situation reflects the place in which we all find ourselves. Our help comes only from the hill of the Lord — the Lord who made all the hills (Psalm 121:2). All other hills we see before us in life can neither rescue us nor destroy us.
During many of those dark nights, I was sure that some hills were meant to ruin us. I would tell myself, “Well, the story’s over. This is the end.” On other occasions, when we would hear about new medical treatments, I would think, “We’re saved!” In those times, I was looking for help more in the hills God had made than in the God who made them.
Seek Help in the Highest Hill
When the hills in your life look like the solution to your pain or the source of your affliction, the psalmist teaches us to look elsewhere for our help. We look with spiritual eyes to the heavenly hill of Zion, the dwelling place of the Lord. “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).
The source of your help is both personal and impeccably competent. Neither fret over the hills nor try to hide in their fleeting shadows — the Lord made heaven and earth. “The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth” (Psalm 97:5). Look to the Lord who is eternal, all-powerful, and who loves you.
He may give you the perseverance you need to stay faithful to him at the foot of that hill. He may effortlessly wipe that hill out of the way. He may open your eyes to see that the hill is actually full of horses and chariots of fire sent on your behalf. The source of your help is what matters: Your help comes from the Lord.
Our Ground of Hope Is Calvary’s Hill
Jesus gives us the kind of peace that surpasses understanding even as he strips away the false assurance we take from our earthly circumstances. “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119:50). He is kind to teach us that our help comes from him alone.
Our despair over life in this fallen world would truly be the end of all our stories — were it not for a cross that stood on one particular hill two thousand years ago. Jesus climbed that hill and took on the greatest obstacle humanity has ever faced — the just wrath of God because of our sin. Christ suffered for our sins, “the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1)
In this life we may be struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9). In the shadow of the cross, every affliction that threatens to squeeze your joy right out of you is meant to strengthen your faith. Because the decisive battle in the war against your soul happened at the cross, you don’t have to put false hope in crumbling hills or be afraid of what is hiding in them. Jesus offers us a life that is more full and more enjoyable than the life that revolves around those hills.
Whether they seem to you like trouble or shelter, look away from those hills to Calvary, to Christ crucified on your behalf. He alone is your help.