God Is My Helper

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God Is My Helper

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One particularly harrowing tale of deliverance is the story of survival by the crew of a sailing ship exploring Antarctic waters and lands in the early 20th century.

An explorer from Ireland, Captain Sir Ernest Shackleton, later wrote, “When I look back I have no doubt that providence guided us not only across the snowfields, but across the storm-swept sea. I know that during that long and raking march of 36-hours, over unnamed mountains and glaciers of South Georgia, it seemed to me often that we were four, not three. I said nothing to my two companions, but afterwards Worsley said to me, ‘Boss, I’d a curious feeling on that march that there was another person with us.’”

In our lives, have we ever had the feeling that we were not alone?

There is more in this incredible harrowing account of endurance of three Antarctic explorers that shows their trust and reliance on God for help. Just before their rescue they had their last encounter with faith while crossing the King Haakon Bay to get to the whaling station at Strommers.

To get there they had to cross a mountain range. Three times Shackleton led them wearily to the tops of 4,000-foot ridges, only to discover the other side was pitted with treacherous crevasses and precipices. On their fourth try, dusk descended and a blanket of freezing fog rolled in obscuring their view. They knew that they would not survive a night stranded 4,000 feet up on a mountain. Worsley gives this account of how they made their descent: “I straddled Sir Ernest, holding his shoulder, Crean did the same to me, and so, locked together we let go.”

They shot off down the slope and into darkness. “I was never more scared in my life,” Worsley admitted (the understatement of the year). The human toboggan plummeted down the mountainside before crashing into a bank of soft snow. They had descended 3,000 feet in two minutes. Then Shackleton heard the steam whistle that was used to rouse the Strommers whalers from their beds. The three of them were about to be rescued after some 16 months in the frozen Antarctic!

God, in His Word, assures us over and over again that He will help us. We sing hymns like “God Is My Helper” and the Psalms of David are full of God’s promises to help. But some may say, “I asked and He did not help me” or “not everyone receives help.”

Maybe, just maybe, there are conditions.

God tells us He is willing to help (Psalms 33:18-22 Psalms 33:18-22 [18] Behold, the eye of the LORD is on them that fear him, on them that hope in his mercy; [19] To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. [20] Our soul waits for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. [21] For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. [22] Let your mercy, O LORD, be on us, according as we hope in you.
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; 50:14-15; 55:16-17). God also tells us to call to Him, which is accomplished through prayer. The line of communication on our side must always be open. God wants us to talk to Him, obey and love Him. He will listen to us, make a judgment call and help us.

These men of Shackleton’s Antarctic exploration had no contact with the outside world, no communication other than with God. For months, their lives hung in the balance, along with the lives of their crew who were stranded back on an island. In their final attempt to be rescued, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego before the fiery furnace, so Shackleton, Worsley and Crean in the “icy furnace” cried out: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us” (Daniel 3:17 Daniel 3:17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
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). And He did!

The stories of these men and their expedition are available in book and movie form, and there is much information on the Internet about Captain Shackleton as well.

To learn more about how to pray effectively in order to receive God’s help, see “The Privilege and Power of Prayer” and “Additional Conditions for Answered Prayer.”