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The Truth Behind
"God Helps Those who Help Themselves"

by David Truman

God's uphill battle in helping us be happy

Walking in God's shoes, heart and soul

God's infinite patience in helping EVERYONE

God is forgiving, but we are POWERFUL

Of gratitude for God

"God helps those who help themselves" is a bit unfair to God. God helps those who help themselves -- among others. God tries, at least, to help everyone.

It IS fair to say that God's help is more likely to be effective if you are earnestly trying to do your part to help yourself. And sometimes, God can't EFFECTIVELY help a guy who's working too hard to UNhelp himself.

For example, a compulsive gambler. The most helpful and relevant way to help a gambler might be to advise him, "Don't gamble." Would such profoundly relevant advice be welcome in the mind of a person who was committed to gambling? As he sees it, he needs Divine intervention in the form of CASH. But, what good would it do for God to replace all the money a gambler wasted? Most likely, it would only intensify the gambler's bad habit, don't you think? Perhaps, when a guy is hell-bent on ruining his own life in such a fashion, and doesn't really welcome God's RELEVANT help, the best help God can give is simply to let him do what he wants, and hope he learns his lesson someday.

The true goal of human life is happiness -- happiness, peace, satisfaction, fulfillment, well-being, enlightenment. So, the best place to apply the principle "God helps those who help themselves" may be in the emotional/psychological aspect of life. There we find the most direct and powerful impact on personal happiness and well-being. And there can be no doubt that God is more interested in SPIRITUAL wealth than material wealth.

Accordingly, here's an interesting question: How does "God helps those who help themselves" pertain to the search for happiness? Unfortunately, in the happiness department, many of us are like a compulsive gambler: we do a better job at "hindering ourselves" than "helping ourselves." By indulging in negative thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, people often thoughtlessly throw away whatever happiness they have, or would otherwise have.

Ask any gambler, "How much money can a gambler gamble away?" If he is honest, he will reply, "Any amount!" Likewise, ego-directed living is a sure way to go broke EMOTIONALLY. By living as ego recommends, a person can prevent ANY form of well-being, and erase ANY degree of happiness.

Obviously, if ego could deliver happiness as promised, this would be a happy, happy world. But every bet placed on ego loses. Don't you think? Or don't you? 

God's uphill battle in helping us be happy

Considering the popularity of egoic living in this world, God is facing an uphill battle in making people happy. But that doesn't mean God makes no effort to help us be happy. In fact, it is fair to say, EVERYTHING God does -- and indeed, even the things God doesn't do -- support that purpose. And the Universe laws of cause and effect also work in the service of happiness.

God helps in many ways. Just like you do. You can help anyone; at least you can try to help. You can do your best. You can do your best with what you have to work with. But as far as the EFFECTIVENESS of the help is concerned, there are other factors: other votes, other wills involved. There is the matter of receptivity -- openness. And the matter of IMPLEMENTATION -- taking the advice.


Example: "Maybe if you didn't argue so much with your bosses, you wouldn't be fired from your jobs." Yes indeed -- IF.

Obviously, though help may be given -- even good help -- various factors bear upon the effectiveness of it. Don't you think? Or don't you?

What if a person liberally indulges in modes of thought and beliefs that would make ANYONE unhappy? Evidently, that person doesn't WANT to be happy -- at least, not enough to sincerely handle his or her part of the bargain. Reasonably, then, with respect to God's efforts to make us happy, and with respect to the efforts of the entire universe to make people happy, we should ask two questions:



God wants people to be happy, but should God make us happy AGAINST OUR WILL?


CAN God make us happy against our will?

The answer to both questions, friends, is no.

God's efforts are in vain if we won't (reasonably effectively) help ourselves (or at least, stop hurting ourselves very effectively). God can't heal us for long, if we remain busy making ourselves sick. What use is God's help in building our house of happiness this morning, if we tear it down this afternoon? And what use is God's forgiveness if we won't forgive ourselves? Not much use, don't you think? Or don't you?

Walking in God's shoes, heart and soul

To love God, to understand God, to feel for God, we need only to appreciate the difficulty of making someone happy who is determined to be UNhappy. And this is easy to understand, because we have all experienced it ourselves.

Surely you have, on many occasions, tried to teach someone a skill he was dead set against learning. What success did you have? And surely you have tried to make someone happy who was, for her part, determined to be miserable. Do you remember how that felt? Now, friends, we're walking in God's shoes, heart and soul.

Ah, have you ever tried to be close to someone, but for some reason, they were determined to keep their distance?

And ah, have you ever tried to capture the attention of a person whose mind was elsewhere -- or have a conversation when their attention was available only a minute here, and a few seconds there? Good God!

And oh, have you ever wanted a constant, beautiful love with a person whose heart kept on opening and closing randomly, like a frightened little mouse, unstable in wanting to be close to you? Oh, for the love of God!

You've probably had this experience, too, because it is a classic: Tearfully, a friend tells you, "No one loves me. No one listens to me. I need a friend." A sad tale indeed! Meanwhile, you're sitting right in front of them, caring for them, listening to them, being their friend.

It's not that they ARE alone, not really. YOU'RE there. And it's not that they're not cared for. YOU care. What, then, is the real cause of their grief? You know what it is: Your friend, BELIEVING they are alone, will not ACCEPT the fact that you are right there with them, even now, in their sorrow. In that frame of mind, they can take no comfort from you. And they will surely go on desperately seeking love, perhaps in vain, even after that meeting with you.

So sad! If you could have things be as YOU wanted, is that how you would have it? Is that how God would have things be? Ah!

How CAN your assurances of love help your friend, if they won't accept that you love them? And similarly, how can God's constant communications of love and support help us, if we are certain God is not here, that God has abandoned us, or that God doesn't love us? Since you have been there and done that, you know exactly what it's like.

What do you do in cases like that? What CAN you do? Of course, you can do anything and everything, and no doubt you tried -- even though you knew all along that you could only succeed if their will allowed for it. Surely there were times -- and who has not experienced this -- when you were so motivated by your own wishes, you ignored their wishes. At such times, in your enthusiasm, you may have lost perspective. Carried away in the rushing rapids of your desire, you may have temporarily abandoned reason -- and even, quite accidentally, forgotten to honor the sovereign will of your beloved, and its insurmountable power.

But it all comes back to the truth, and here it is: will rules.

What if the willingness to indulge in happiness-destroying ways EXCEEDS the desire to be happy? So often, that is the case. If so, God is constrained to work, insofar as possible, to help the person realign his or her WILL. Until and unless the WILL to be happy is certain and stable, no one can enjoy stable happiness. For stable happiness, what is needed is a WILL to protect happiness from the happiness-destroying effects of negative thoughts and beliefs -- a strong will; an effective resolve, with strong follow-through to match.

God needs us to be on the same team. God needs us to support happiness in ourselves. WE need to support happiness in ourselves. Then God and the individual can work TOGETHER, toward the same goals. That way, success is certain. Not otherwise. We could say it is DIFFICULT to succeed against a person's will, but that's an understatement. Actually, it's IMPOSSIBLE.

God's infinite patience in helping EVERYONE


If I have implied, here, that when it comes to happiness, God helps those who help themselves, and does not help those who do otherwise, then I apologize, because I know better. The truth is, God helps those who help themselves, AND God helps those who do not. In so many ways.

You might have to be a saint of persistence to have walked THIS long in God's shoes, but you can easily imagine it:

Time after time, you heal someone, but every time you turn around, they make themselves sick again. Time after time, you forgive someone, but the next time you turn around, they've made themselves guilty. You do this again and again over the years, through tears and fears.

And what if, to excuse their painful ways, they say to you, "It doesn't matter what I do, because God is all-forgiving, and God doesn't care." Well, as their friend, YOU care. You care about the pain they're causing themselves. And so does God. God cares plenty.

And what if they also say, "I'm messing up, but God loves me anyway." That is true, so very true. Of course every mother loves her child, even if the child lives a life of crime and, as a result, ends up doing hard time behind bars. She loves her child all the same. Of course. But does she want to see her child suffer? Of course not!

God is forgiving, but we are POWERFUL


Beloved reader, now that we've walked in God's shoes, perhaps we can better understand "God helps those who help themselves" from God's perspective.

God says, "You are always My beloved child, no matter what you think or do." This is God's nature, to be all-loving and all-forgiving. But note that God is NOT saying, "Because I love and forgive you, I am preventing or removing the consequences of all your free will choices from you." Think about that for a minute. What if God did in fact remove all the consequences of our deliberate choices? That intervention not only would prevent the learning of lessons, but it would also forcibly disempower those whose actual will is, in fact, to suffer. Granted, certain applications of will may be said to be perverse, but it's still THEIR WILL. Thus, you see, all God can reasonably say is, "I love you no matter what you do; but you may still suffer the problems you create for yourself of your own free will."

Surely, OUR POWER is not rescinded by God's love and forgiveness. God has created us as creative, free will entities. When it comes to being an entity of any kind, there are two possibilities: Either you've got power, or you don't have power. Which would YOU rather have -- power, or no power?

If you've got power, your actions will have effects. There are two things about that we do well to acknowledge:




Our creative power is non-existent unless our actions have effects.

Free will, our creative prerogative, is meaningless unless we can freely determine the KIND of effect we have. As free will creatures, and as truly creative individuals, we must be able to have ALL kinds of effects -- for better, and for worse.

So you see, it is in the CONTEXT of the effects we create that God works to help us. And therefore, it's not really true that God helps ONLY those who help themselves. It's just that God's help may not bear obvious fruit for those who don't. What is so is that God's earnest attempts to help ALL cannot be maximally effective unless we work WITH God. Therefore, God gets credit for helping those who help themselves. But God has to work even harder to help those who DON'T help themselves, and those efforts go mostly unrecognized. And that's the TRUTH behind "God helps those who help themselves."

Of gratitude for God

Thus, we owe God a debt of gratitude for jumping to help us any time we were open to help. But MORE than that, a thousand times more, we owe God a gratitude for trying to help us all the REST of the time -- under conditions less favorable.

Ah, the love of the parent, who serves on and on, EVEN when the going gets tough!

Ah, the love of the loyal and true friend, constant in the face of inconstancy, and EVEN in the face of steady abuse!

For loving us under unfavorable conditions, we owe God thanks.

And, for placing in our hands precious gifts, and replacing them when we throw them away, time and again.

And, for earnestly TRYING to help us when we would not help ourselves, but would hurt ourselves instead.

And, for healing sickness upon sickness of our own willful creation.

We owe God INFINITE gratitude for expecting good of us in spite of our contrary expectations, for loving us in the face of unlove -- and for patiently, repeatedly, showing us good choices in the face of our contrary choices.

To God, for inexhaustible service of love, we owe our all. And how can we pay off that debt? Be happy! That will do just fine.

Thus speaks a friend of God.

by David Truman

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