When God doesn’t seem to help us …

Suppose we pray to God for help amid difficulty but the difficulty remains. Does that mean God doesn’t care? 

God does care. However, any care has to be evaluated in the light of overall purpose. Suppose a baby bird inside a shell is trying to come out. It pushes till the shell cracks a wee bit. One of its feet comes out, but the shell snaps back, trapping its foot, making it scream, shake, struggle. Still, it pushes and pushes till it finally breaks the shell. It is free. Though it is wounded and exhausted by the struggle, it has also grown both in strength and will. If someone had helped it by breaking the shell from outside, it would have emerged without the strength to fly and the will to fight life’s future battles. Their help would have ended up harming it.

Might something similar apply for us too? Could the point of our problems be to stimulate us to grow? To expand our conception of who we are, what we are meant to do and where we are meant to ultimately go? 

At the start of the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna broke down at the prospect of a difficult duty. Krishna didn’t remove Arjuna’s problem; Krishna expanded Arjuna’s conceptions so that he got the strength to face the problem (18.73).

Amid our problems, rather than lamenting that God is not changing our outer situation, we can turn to his word in the Gita. Therein, we will find the understanding necessary for our evolution. And in applying that understanding, we will find God’s help to evolve not just to better situations but also to better life-conceptions; we will have broken out of our shells. 

One-sentence summary:

God’s purpose is not just to help us; his purpose is to help us change

Think it over:

  • What is God’s purpose for? Explain with a metaphor.
  • How does the Gita illustrate the nature of God’s help?
  • Are you facing any difficult situation? To deal with it, what shell might you need to break out of?


18.73: My illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.

Author: Chaitanya Charan

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  1. GOD helps them, who help themselves

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