Saturday, December 7, 2013


“You do not have because you do not ask” -James 4:2 I was with a friend the other day who was describing a difficult situation he was experiencing. I asked him, “How is your family helping you?” He responded, “Oh, I would never ask my family for help- they don’t want to be in on my stuff.” When times are difficult, that’s how most of us react to those most equipped to help us. We prefer to solo. We prefer to isolate. We prefer to be on our own. It is easier to drive by ourselves- fewer stops, fewer noises, fewer directions, and better gas mileage (really?) But the journey has more meaning and purpose when we’re sharing it with someone else. We need to learn to let others bear our burdens. And that begins by asking. A few weeks ago, Jeanie and I were headed back from Des Moines after a wonderful visit with Elizabeth, Mark, and our two granddaughters, Reese and Lucy. It’s about a six-hour drive- no big deal. On the way up to Des Moines from Branson, the check engine light began to flash in our vehicle, but went off after a few miles. But on the way back, it began to flash again and stayed on. We love our Honda and it’s the first time we’ve had a problem with it. We pulled out the owner’s manual to see what the flashing light meant. It said, “If the check engine light is flashing, do not drive the car and seek immediate service.” Immediate service in Humansville, Missouri? That was not an option. So we elected to drive another hour to Springfield and drop the car off at the Honda dealership there for service. But Branson is 45 minutes from Springfield- a long walk on a Sunday afternoon. So Jeanie and I switched into solo mode... “We could get a taxi?, that would cost too much. We could wait and take it later in the week?, we’re leaving town again. We could wait and take it the next week?, we shouldn’t be driving it.” Then the “burden bearing deflection” began. “But we can’t call someone to come get us: it’s Sunday and no one wants to drive to Springfield on a Sunday afternoon. No, we can’t call someone to come get us: we should take care of this by ourselves. No, we can’t call someone to come get us: the Chiefs are playing and people would rather be watching the game.” But slowly, our pride began to melt, the deflector shield came down and we realized we needed to ask for help. So we called a couple of friends but got voicemail. “See, no one can help,” we thought for an instant, but realized how irrational that logic was, so we called Vicki, a trusted friend of ours. She simply said, “I’ll take care of it.” As it turns out, she sent out a mass text to a bunch of people and she told us later “So many responded and wanted to help.” In the end, Amy and her daughter, Carly, jumped in their car, and, with cheerful hearts, came to get us. They were wonderful. The car was fixed the next day and is resting comfortably in our warm garage. It wasn’t about people willing to come help Joey and Jeanie. It was about God providing help in a time of need. Without exception, God always provides what we need when we need it, IF WE ASK. Sometimes it’s about asking God to provide through a friend or family. We’ll pray all day long, but pride refuses to let a brother or sister be God’s hands and solution to a problem. We ask, “God, please help us!” while our friends stay unaware of the load they would so willingly be willing to bear. Pride says, “Well, they should know about my need- I shouldn’t have to call them.” Humility is willing to reach out and lean on a friend. As Chuck Swindoll said in his classic book, Improving Your Serve, “a servant is only a true servant if he is willing to be served.” Don’t walk this short journey called life by yourself. It’s not how God designed us. Reach out, serve others, lean on God and ask others to help you. You will be blessed… …And so will the helper. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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