For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.(NRSV)
Much of our lives we are urged to be resourceful, hard working, put energy into resolving the challenges that come our way. Nothing too much wrong with that as long as we also face up to the fact that at times we are utterly helpless. Our resources run out, nothing we do seems to improve things, and we lack energy to even identify the issues let alone sort them out.
It would be natural to see such times as times of despair. We have failed, we are in ruins. But this is not how it needs to be for the one who trusts in God. The Psalmist, as here, is often in great need. He often expresses the truth that help comes to the helpless. It seems the weaker we are the more we are likely to receive God’s strength. We reach the end of our own resources only to collapse into the inexhaustible resources of our God.
The old hymn said, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling. Naked come to thee for dress…” It expresses the truth that to get right with God we need to abandon all reliance on our own real or imagined merits. It is also true that to face all that life throws at us we need to acknowledge our helplessness.
God wants to pour out his strength and wisdom into us. If we are struggling with an armful of our own resources we have no room for his own. True, there are times in life when we exercise all our God given human resources. But there are other times when we have to come empty handed in order to be filled. Blessed helplessness.