26 Sep Going to the Source
The word “Ezer” is used to describe God several times throughout the Old Testament, referring to God as a powerful source of help and strength.
Reading through those stories, other words connected to these uses of “Ezer” to describe God are strong, beautiful words:
Embedded in a larger narrative, these are all moments where someone’s own strength was not enough. Where someone needed another source of strength outside of themselves.
They were seeking someone to meet a need and do for them what they could not do themselves.
I experienced this need when I went on a mission trip to Indianapolis, Indiana with a campus ministry in college. It was my first time leading a group of other college students on a mission trip, and I felt the weight and responsibility to set the tone for the group, to lead with a clear mind and positive attitude.
Our group’s assigned worksites required us to arrive first thing in the morning and work all day, exerting physical and emotional energy. Also, because of the limited hotel room availability, for six nights I shared a bed with three other girls on the trip.
Yes, that is four girls trying to squeeze on one bed.
You can imagine, the circumstances didn’t really produce a restful, rejuvenating night’s sleep.
By day three I was utterly exhausted. Each night carried three to four hours of sleep and each day had stretched out to about eighteen hours of constant activity. Spending a week in a city with almost five hundred other college students, leading a group through daily worksites and nightly discussion, and then getting so few hours of sleep each night, I was completely depleted of energy.
One morning about halfway through the week, I was sitting on the floor of my hotel room, tying my shoes and trying not to wake my sleeping roommates.
I thought: “I cannot do this.”
“For the first time in my life, I found myself begging the Lord from a place of emptiness and desperation for physical, mental, and spiritual strength.”
For the first time in my life, I found myself begging the Lord from a place of emptiness and desperation for physical, mental, and spiritual strength. There was nowhere else for me to get strength but from the source himself.
I remember meditating on Isaiah 40:29-31, which declares that God is our strength, and praying for him to intercede and physically help me press on. I asked him to allow the Holy Spirit to speak over my weak and weary voice.
And he did.
God literally brought me unexplainable strength to get through that week. He invited me to find rest in his presence, nurtured me through different conversations with people around me, and partnered with me by allowing his Holy Spirit to direct my words when difficult conversations came up.
Even on the drive home, after a week of exhaustion and while the rest of our group was passed out in the back of the van, I was somehow able to fulfill my responsibility of keeping our van driver awake.
There was nothing glamorous or overly spiritual about it. I sat up front, clung to a large cup of coffee, leaned forward resting my elbows on my knees and chin on my palms, attempting to unnoticeably physically hold my eyelids open with my fingertips as I fired questions at him to keep him awake.
Regardless, I know it was not my own power or ability that allowed me to stay awake or even lead throughout that week.
So, I might not have been in the midst of battle, praying for God to “ride across the heavens” to come to my aid and save our nation (Deuteronomy 33:26). However, God does not just fill a role in those critical moments. His character remains the same today as thousands of years ago.
Ezer is part of his nature. In the same way that he is always, completely, entirely just and merciful and holy and loving and wise, he is always, completely, entirely the true helper (Psalm 115:9). We see ways he nurtures, invites, and partners throughout Scripture.
Understanding who God is helps us better understand who we were created to be.
“This calling to be a suitable helper, to come alongside and bring strength to others, can only be fully lived out when we are being filled by the source and creator and when we are recognizing and reflecting God’s powerful Ezer nature.”
This calling to be a suitable helper, to come alongside and bring strength to others, can only be fully lived out when we are being filled by the source and creator and when we are recognizing and reflecting God’s powerful Ezer nature.
So, lean in to the protector, deliverer, shield; the one who invites us in; the one who nurtures us physically and spiritually; the one who partners to save us.
When was the last time you were so desperate for strength or joy that only God would be enough to come through for you? How can you serve or step into a role where you would have to rely on God and not yourself?
Audrey is a recent graduate of Clemson University and is now embarking on post-grad life in Greenville, SC. She enjoys the outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and is proud to say she finally learned to drink her coffee black. Audrey attends our Pelham Campus.