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God Only Helps Whom?

July 11, AD2014 7 Comments

Have you ever heard the story of the man who prayed that God would save him in a flood? He stood on top of his roof, praying that God would save him. Three different rescue teams tried, and when each asked if he was okay and offered to bring him to safety, he turned them down, declaring that God would save him. Eventually he ended up drowning in the flood, and when he reached the other side, he approached God unhappily asking, “God, I trusted in you, why didn’t you save me?”

And God looked at him in exasperation and answered, “I tried three different times to save you, but you turned down all the people I sent!” The moral of the story: while one can pray for something all day long, if he’s not able to see the ways God is opening doors and creating opportunities because he’s waiting for God to set everything right in front of him, he’s going miss out on all the ways God is trying to answer him.

This belief that “God only helps those who help themselves” is often greatly misunderstood. I have found in my experience that there are many who have a hard time finding a good balance between praying and doing. There are many who pray constantly for help in their situations, trust God more than anything, but whose faith that He will provide seems to keep them from taking a chance with the confidence that He will help them. It’s not because they don’t have enough faith to take a chance; it’s simply that they don’t feel it is necessary until God does the groundwork and then places it before them. But, on the other side of the issue, there are those who put themselves through great struggles and pain taking risks without putting their lives in God’s hands first, and don’t turn to Him until everything fails. Personally, I definitely have a bad habit of trying to figure out everything for myself, taking leaps of faith without the virtue to fly instead of fall.

While I do think that God often reaches down to pull people out of the hardest tragedies or deepest ruts to place them on straight paths, I also think that if we truly want to receive His help in our lives to the greatest extent we need to put actions to words, but also support works with faith. Just as faith without works is dead (James 2:17), works without faith are fruitless (Hebrews 11:4-7). “God only helps those who help themselves” does not mean that God does not reach out to the fallen or lost. It does mean that those who are actively seeking to do the best they can, while also praying for guidance, are the ones who are making themselves the most receptive to God’s grace. By their prayer they are showing God they want His help. By their actions they are proving to Him that they are willing to seize any opportunities He lays before them because they are motivated enough to bring about the solution and answer they are praying for.

Basically, Will Rogers said it best, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” With God, all things are possible, so once you’ve offered it all up to Him, and as long as He remains the reason and strength behind your actions, why wait? Gandhi’s wise challenge to “Be the change in the world you wish to see” does not have to be seen as a self-empowering, faithless “carpe diem”, but rather a chance to rise up as St. Catherine of Siena declares: to become what we should be, and “set the whole world on fire.”

All it takes is one step forward, a small leap of faith into God’s hands, to show Him you are ready to receive His grace and do His will. But, once you’ve offered it up, you have to jump first.

So, are you ready?

Filed in: Education, Faith

About the Author:

Abigail C. Reimel is a budding Catholic author in love with her faith. Among other things, she enjoys playing the violin, reading and re-reading books, watching movies, spending time with her family, and driving around town, listening to music with the windows down. She has been published in the St. Austin Review, and posts regularly on her blog, a "A Catholic Teen's Perspective". She adores living by the ocean, but has traded salty winds for mountain air to begin studying at Christendom College, where she hopes to study English and master swing dancing.

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  • Victoria DePalma

    Are you
    *currently* being sent into Hell forever … automatically
    excommunicated (outside) of God’s Catholic Church ?

    Answer:
    Yes you are … you can reverse it … please continue.

    Council
    of Florence, Session 8, 22 Nov 1439 — infallible Source of Dogma
    >
    “Whoever wills to be saved, before all things it is
    necessary that he holds the Catholic faith. Unless a person keeps
    this faith whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish
    eternally.”

    You must
    believe the Catholic Dogma to be in the Church … Dogma you have
    *never* seen.

    Site >
    Immaculata-one.com … infallible Dogma throughout.

    The
    Catholic Faith *is not* Bible interpretation … it is the Catholic
    infallible Sources of Dogma. The Catholic Church didn’t even define
    the Bible’s New Testament Canon until 397 A.D. at the Council of
    Carthage.

    - – - -

    Can a
    group which enforces the opposite, the opposite, and the opposite of
    the Catholic unchangeable Dogma be the Catholic Church?

    No, it
    cannot possibly be the Catholic Church … and promotion of the
    opposite of the Catholic Dogma is exactly what the vatican-2 heretic
    cult does … and has been doing since it’s founding on 8 December
    1965 at the Vatican.

    The
    vatican-2 heresy does not have the Office of the Papacy … only the
    Catholic Church has the Papacy.

    The Dogma
    cannot “change” or be “reversed” … God does not “change”.

    The
    founding documents of the vatican-2 heretic cult … the “vatican-2
    council” documents … have well over 200 heresies *against* prior
    defined unchangeable Dogma. Every (apparent) bishop at the “council”
    approved the mountain of heresy, which caused their automatic
    excommunication, see Section 13.2 of the below site.

    - – - -

    Section
    12 > Anti-Christ vatican-2 heresies (50 listed) … followed by
    many Catholic corrections.

    Sections
    13 and 13.1 > Photographic *proof* of heresy at the Vatican.

    Because
    of … the Catholic Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy or
    for physical participation in a heretic cult (such as the v-2 cult) …

    … we
    were all placed, body and soul, *outside* of Christianity (the
    Catholic Church) on 8 December 1965 … the close date of the
    “council”.

    Section
    13.2 > Catholic Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy or
    participating in a heretic cult such as … vatican-2, lutheran,
    methodist, evangelical, etc.

    Section
    107 > St. Athanasius (died 373 A.D.) … “Even if the Church
    were reduced to a handful …” – - during the “arian” heresy
    … we are there again, but worse.

    Section
    13.3 > Matt 16:18, Gates of Hell scripture … is *not* about the
    Office of the Papacy … four Dogmatic Councils defined it … that
    heresy will not cause the Dogma to disappear.

    Section
    13.4 > The vatican-2 heretic cult does not have the Office of the
    Papacy only the Catholic Church has the Papacy.

    Section
    13.6 > The Catholic Dogma on Jurisdiction and Automatic
    Excommunication for heresy define that … God has allowed Catholic
    Jurisdiction … for Mass and Confession to disappear from the world.
    There is no such thing as Catholic Mass outside of the Catholic
    Church.

    Non-Catholic
    heresies such as “vatican-2”, “sspx”, “sspv”, “cmri”,
    etc. … do not have Catholic Mass.

    Section
    19.1 > Dogma on Abjuration for *re-entering* Christianity (the
    Catholic Church) … after being automatically excommunicated. A
    Formal Abjuration is provided here also.

    Section
    10.2 > Returning to a state of grace, in places and times when
    Confession is not available, like now.

    - – - -

    Second
    Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D. — infallible Source of
    Dogma >
    “The heretic, even though he has not been
    condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on
    himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy.”

    Blessed
    John Eudes, died 1680 >

    “The
    greatest evil existing today is heresy, an infernal rage which hurls
    countless souls into eternal damnation.”

    Everything
    you must know, believe, and do to get to Heaven is on > >
    Immaculata-one.com.

    Victoria

    Our Lady
    of Conquest

    Pray for
    us

    • james

      What an interesting faith you have.

    • Bill S

      Is this you, James.

    • james

      Yes, I commented on the comment that was deleted

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  • David Peters

    Abigail this is a faith building and motivating article. I love the way you examine faith and taking action (with our faith). We need both not one or the other! Thanks for encouraging us!

  • Need help

    Ms. Abigail Reimel, thanks for article. I want to put my faith in action but one thing keeps me from doing so: fear of failure. Fear. Fear of being rejected. Fear of being looked as a big failure by others. This fear might come from my upbringing, but could you write another enlightening article addressing this fear (of failure/rejection). I think I’m not the only one. It’d be greatly appreciated.