The Helping Hand of the Holy Spirit
His enormous, old, weathered hands hold the end of the oar. He gazes at the little girl with grandfatherly affection as they sit side by side in a fishing boat. His broad brimmed fishing hat protects his wrinkled brow from the sun and the pelting rains that he doubtless experiences on his daily expeditions out to sea. The old fisherman and his young charge are off on a mission to catch fish, perhaps for their dinner or the dinner of many others. One can almost smell the salt-air, feel the stiff onshore breeze and hear the squawking seagulls that one imagines are circling overhead. The little girl, barely taller than the oar, stares wordlessly at her beholders, with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. She is dressed in an old-fashioned smocking dress and apron, with a small kerchief around her hair. Wide-eyed with wonder, her hands are poised next to his on the oar. Their fishing expedition is about to begin.
The antique print, which I’ve just described, hangs framed upon my living room wall, directly across from the chair in which I sit, pray and read my Bible each morning. As I pray each day, the old man and the young girl look back at me from their boat. Their fishing expedition is imminent, and I muse in anticipation of what they will catch. I always find comfort in the fact that the girl is not alone. The print is entitled, “The Helping Hand*,” and I’ve always found it an intriguing piece of art. It was a gift from my mother, who loved perusing antique shops and estate sales, and it hung in my childhood home.
The print reminds me of times when my own little girls (now young adults) would fish with my Dad, their Grandpa, and I. He would carefully put bait on their hooks with his big hands, and help them cast out their lines into the lake or the Gulf near his Florida retirement retreat. He would help them to hold the pole until there was a tug on the line, and then assist them to reel in a fish. He would even take the
wiggling fish (which none of us girls wanted to touch!) off the line and pose for a photo with his daughter and granddaughters. His big hands were helping their small hands.
One recent morning as I prayed, my attention was particularly drawn to “The Helping Hand.” In a moment, in a still, small, internal voice, the Holy Spirit whispered a reminder into my heart. He simply and softly spoke that He is my helper. Like the little girl sitting in the boat, I am never alone in my life or my efforts to serve Jesus. Through my faith in Jesus Christ, I have the ever-present help of the Holy Spirit to guide me, both in ministry and in everyday life, which are often one in the same.
In John, chapters 14-16, Jesus instructed his first followers, in preparation for his departure (through crucifixion on the cross). He reminded them that, although he would be leaving them, he would not leave them alone. He said it this way in John 14:15-18 (NKJV), “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” He was preparing them for the coming Holy Spirit.
The divine guidance and help of the Holy Spirit is available to all who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who have repented of sin and put their faith wholly in him. Like the first followers of Jesus, the modern-day Christian is never alone. The helping hand of the Holy Spirit is available to guide them, from the moment of conversion. In addition, any Christian who sincerely seeks it, can receive the empowering baptism in the Holy Spirit for anointed service to Jesus Christ, just as the first believers did on Pentecost (see Acts 1 and 2). His guidance can be spiritually apprehended through prayer, careful reading of God’s word, and growing familiarity with his ways, as one’s faith in Jesus Christ matures. He guides in many ways; primarily through the Bible, but also through his internal voice, his spiritual gifts, circumstantially, visions, dreams, and many other ways. The Holy Spirit is the helping hand of Jesus who brings both guidance and empowerment for service.
Many of Jesus’ first followers were actual fisherman, tradespeople, lawyers, prostitutes or even tax collectors. They were regular people with regular jobs when they met Jesus. Their lives weren’t necessarily neat, tidy and all fixed up. For example, the text states in Matthew 4:17-20 (NLT):
17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. 18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
Jesus is still calling all who will listen from all walks of life, to follow him and to go on spiritual fishing expeditions. Just as he physically walked with his first followers and helped transform their lives and then learn to fish for the souls of men, to heal and to deliver; so the Holy Spirit is the helping hand of Jesus’ available to believers today.
How about you? Will you take ahold of His helping hand? He’s reaching out for yours.
For more teaching and testimonies on the gifts and guidance of the Holy Spirit visit https://janetdecaster.com/books and check out her Bible study curriculum, GOD SPEAKS: The Guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts & Today.
Thank you for stopping by on A Samaritan Woman Speaks at http://JanetDeCaster.com
*The Helping Hand, 1881. Artist: Emile Renouf (1845-1894) More information about the history of the painting available at http://www.tyronehistory.org/research/wilson-chemical-co-prints/163-helping-hand