Have you ever decided to read a spiritual book or a particular article and then, out of the blue, “Bam!” A book with a totally different theme falls into your lap. Then you find it was a better choice for what you needed to read. The article, “How Asking for Help Opens Doors” was one of those times for me.
“Asking…” is penned by Abby McDonald. She is a writer, speaker, wife, and mom. Her work can be found on Proverb 31 Ministries, (in)Courage, For Every Mom, and more. Here’s Abby’s story about her encounter zip-lining with her children.
“If I can get to the end of this section, I’ll be OK,” I told myself. I willed my legs to move forward, but they felt like Jell-O. The ropes course stretched out ahead, and I forced myself not to look down. As I watched my boys go on with ease, I wondered, Why did I agree to this adventure? Oh yes, to spend time with my kids and make memories. My body begged me to stop and shook in one final attempt to surpass the obstacle. Then I heard the instructor say it: “Do you need help?” What I wanted to say was “Yes.” But I hesitated. My pride said, “Keep going. Show your boys how strong you are.” But after several moments, I knew I couldn’t pull myself over the wood plank blocking my path. “Yes,” I replied. “I do.”
If I’m honest, my reluctance to let the instructor help me reflects what often happens in my spiritual life. Instead of inviting God into a difficult situation, I act as though He’s not there. When life’s stresses leave me anxious and I realize everyday burdens are too much, instead of calling out, I hesitate. I convince myself I already know how the story will end.
When we also look in Scripture, we see this mindset. It’s not new; it simply presents itself in new ways. For Example, take Elijah in 1 Kings 19:18. He demonstrated God’s power to the Baal worshippers by calling down fire from heaven. Then he heard of Jezebel’s plot to kill him. Instead of turning to God, he ran.
God met Elijah on Mount Horeb, where He asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9b, ESV). Elijah said he was the only one left who’d been faithful to the Lord, and he was tired. He’d been zealous, and everyone had turned against him. But was this true? Elijah thought he knew the end of the story, but God had been raising up an army. “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18)
It isn’t until we see our need for God that He shows us the army He’s raising on our behalf. It’s there, in our humility, that He reveals His plan to us. Sometimes God humbles us with earthquakes and wind as He did with Elijah. Other times He humbles us with our inability to move any further. His purpose is never to stop our forward movement but to bring us to the Guide. He opens the door to the next chapter a little wider, and He gives us a glimpse of what He’s doing. But we must ask. We must acknowledge we don’t have the answers.
When I finally asked the instructor for help, she pulled me to the next platform, then let me complete the course. By letting her assist me, I was able to experience the exhilaration of the zip-line finish. I had assumed we’d skip this part, but I was wrong. Asking for help ended up opening the door to a new adventure.
The same is true when we ask for help from God.
God, thank You for always being ready to help us when we need it. You never judge our inability to carry life’s burdens, but You are ready to take the weight from us if we ask. Help us to remember that inviting You into our circumstances opens doors only You can open. Our weariness is the exact point when You do some of Your best work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Blessings and Peace to you as we journey together in Encountering Christ in Word, Liturgy, Charity, and Community. A Saint Monica Sojourner