March 1, 2005
Encouragement for Today
"Ask for Help" - Part One
Rachel Olsen, Speaker Team Member, ETC Editor
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT)
One night, several weeks ago, I just couldn't sleep. Wondering if the Lord was trying to get my attention, I got out my Bible and went to Him in prayer. Nada, nothing, zilch. Next, I fixed a cup of chamomile tea, hoping it would inspire sleep, to no avail. By now, almost two hours had passed and I flipped on the TV - something I never do when I can't sleep.
I scanned the channels, amazed at all the late night infomercials. More hair, less belly fat, smoother skin, and kitchen gadgets galore were pushed by perky-looking "show hosts." Surely, God didn't wake me to shop! Then I caught glimpse of Sandra Bullock, an actress whose movies I usually enjoy. The movie in progress was 28 Days. Sandra was not playing one of her usual, lovable characters but a woman with a drinking problem, in denial about it, and sentenced to 28 days in a rehab center. It was not what I would call a "feel good movie," and I kept wondering exactly why I was watching it at 3:00 am.
Each of the characters at the rehab center had their own addictions, issues, quirks and charms. One woman stood out to me in particular. When you first meet her in the group setting, she is wearing a sign around her neck with the words: "Confront me if I don't ask for help." In my sleepy state, I had to ponder this a moment before realizing that not asking for help is one of things that keeps getting her into trouble. So her therapist has her wear this sign. It made me chuckle.
How often do we not ask for help when we need it? Can you imagine wearing a sign that says "Confront me if I don't ask for help?" My husband bears such a sign in the form of a scar on his left palm.
We have a Crape Myrtle Tree that grows next to our house and shades our drive way. This tree blooms profusely all summer long. However, the tree limbs get heavy with blooms and begin drooping over the driveway, forcing us to trim the branches regularly to keep them from brushing the car tops.
Rick was using a step ladder to cut back the branches over the driveway when he decided to do more trimming up top. He climbed from the step ladder onto the lower portion of our roof, above our front porch. Normally Rick uses one of the upstairs bedroom windows to step out onto the roof, but that day, he climbed onto the roof from the ladder - on a whim. When he was finished pruning, he realized he couldn't really see the ladder below to get down. He considered knocking on the bedroom window for me to open it for him, but he didn't want to bother me. Instead, he chose to get down by himself.
He lay down on his stomach, allowing his feet to dangle over the side of the roof, searching for the ladder. Next thing he knew, he was sliding off the roof. The shingles acted like sandpaper while the edge of the roof acted like a knife - slicing his left hand open.
We rushed to the nearest Medac where Rick's hand required over 46 stitches, 13 of them being internal.
To the doctor's amazement, there was something to be thankful for in this ordeal. The cut should have sliced right through one of the major nerves in Rick's hand. Had this nerve been severed, much of his sensation and use of that hand would've been diminished. That would be a terrible loss because Rick is a keyboard-playing, worship leader at our church. However, God protected Rick's use of that hand. The doctor called all the nurses in to see what he called a miracle: the fact that Rick's hand was very deeply cut, but this main nerve ran right across the middle of the gash, untouched, like a bridge runs over a river or over a valley gorge.
The healing period took several weeks and prevented Rick from getting his hand wet or doing many things he normally does around the house - he had to rely on my help. Naturally, I wanted to point out the irony of him not wanting to be a bother on the roof - yet risking life and limb, costing a fortune in doctor's bills, and needing several weeks of assisted recovery time. Now it's a running joke between us. Whenever he is tackling a two-person task alone, I ask with a wink, "You can find that ladder on your own, can't ya?"
The Christian life is not a one-person task. We daily need encouragement, instruction, and help from God and one another. God wrote Rick a note - a life-long reminder on his hand - with a scar that says, "Ask for help."
How many times in life do we find ourselves hanging perilously off the side of some problem or sin, searching on our own for a way down, when others are ready and able to help?
My prayer for today:
Jesus, I need your help to live my life. I also need the help of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Forgive me for being too prideful or too fearful to ask for help. Amen.
Is there something God is nudging you to ask others for help with? Ask them today!
What stops you from asking others for help? Pride? Fear of rejection? Avoidance of consequences?
Independence is highly prized in America - but also highly overrated.
God said we are each but one part, one organ of the body of Christ and the body cannot function without using all of its parts. (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NLT)
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)
Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. Galatians 6:10 (NLT)
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)
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Originally published Tuesday, 01 March 2005.