March 2010

Help

Why is it so hard to ask for help?  We certainly have times when we need it, but we don’t like admitting it.  In a recent Sunday children’s message, I asked them what they do when they have a really difficult problem.  The first answer was “I solve it.”  There were others who agreed with that answer.  When pressed, they did speak of others from whom they could ask for help.  But like most of us, it was not their first thought.  Of course it is a good sign of self-confidence that our children and youth would believe that they can solve their problems.  I don’t mean to question that; and I do know that we each need to use all our resources to deal with our challenges.  However, I also know that as we grow, our problems and challenges become more complex and confounding.  We find that we cannot solve them all on our own; we need additional help, wisdom, experience, and interventions.  Even if we might be able to handle them our own, we could benefit from talking with another about them.  A couple experiencing chronic conflict in their relationship could benefit greatly from seeking the help of a professional counselor.

            Why is it so hard to ask for help?  It may be pride or shame – the feeling and belief that we should be able to handle this on our own.  We don’t want anyone else to know that we are having this problem.  We feel isolated and don’t whom to ask for help.  We don’t believe anyone would want to help.  We don’t believe anyone could help.  We are afraid of seeming, or being, dependent on others.  There can be many reasons we resist asking for help.  For the most part, they are not good reasons.

            It is altogether possible that God created this world in such a way that problems in life would be inevitable.  Furthermore, more often than not, those problems will be bigger than you or I can manage wisely on our own.  Why this must be so is probably tied up in the gift of our freedom and capacity for choice.  It may also be an element in God’s design and intention that we not be self-sufficient, that life is designed in such a way that we need one another, that interdependence and community are among God’s will and gift for us.  This may be how love is meant to work.

            In several of the letters in the New Testament, we read of the church as a living body composed of many members.  The members each have different qualities, skills, talents, and gifts.  No one is valued above another; no one is less essential to the life of the body than another.  It is the working together well of all the parts in the synergy of the whole that makes the body healthy and fruitful.  This is meant to be true not only for the church, but for humankind as whole.  The church should be the paradigm for our world.

            Asking for help is good and wise.  Helping one another is embedded in the Great Commandment given to us by Christ: to love God and one another.  The cry for help is often the first and most genuine prayer many of us ever prayed.  It is a prayer God has covenanted to answer.  It is a prayer we are invited to help God answer.  It is a prayer that binds us together in the fellowship of the Spirit.

            As many of you know, one of my favorite hymns is “The Servant Song”.  I love it for the message of reciprocity in our service to one another.  I love it for suggesting that to allow another person to help me, can be to give that person a gift of great value.

 

                        “Won’t you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?

                        Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.

                        We are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road;

                        We are here to help each other go the mile and bear the load.”