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Asking for Help

Asking for Help

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord

and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one

who trusts in the Lord,

who does not look to the proud,

to those who turn aside to false gods.

Many, Lord my God,

are the wonders you have done,

the things you planned for us.

None can compare with you;

were I to speak and tell of your deeds,

they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—

but my ears you have opened[c]—

burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—

it is written about me in the scroll.[e]

I desire to do your will, my God;

your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;

I do not seal my lips, Lord,

as you know.

I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;

I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.

I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness

from the great assembly.

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;

may your love and faithfulness always protect me.

For troubles without number surround me;

my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.

They are more than the hairs of my head,

and my heart fails within me.

Be pleased to save me, Lord;

come quickly, Lord, to help me.

May all who want to take my life

be put to shame and confusion;

may all who desire my ruin

be turned back in disgrace.

May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”

be appalled at their own shame.

But may all who seek you

rejoice and be glad in you;

may those who long for your saving help always say,

“The Lord is great!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy;

may the Lord think of me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

you are my God, do not delay.

One of my weaknesses is that I have trouble asking for help. Of course, I have lots of excuses as to why I don’t ask for help. I don’t like the idea that I am not totally self-sufficient. So, I decide I can do it better on my own. And, I decide I don’t want to bother people. I convince myself that I am totally self-sufficient…I mean people are so busy with their own stuff…and I am enough on my own!

I even do this with God.

Because God has real problems to deal with and I don’t want to bother God…plus I can do it on my own. (perhaps I even better, or so I say to myself.)

And yet we know deep down this idea of self-sufficiency is a lie. We need both one another and God. When we fail to recognize that we need both one another and God, we get lost. We lose our direction in life and our connection to God.

William Nicholson’s play Shadowlands about the great Christian author CS Lewis includes the following that describes this lie far more eloquently than I can: “Self-sufficiency is the enemy of salvation. If you are self-sufficient, you have no need of God. If you have no need of God, you do not seek Him. If you do not seek Him, you will not find Him.”

I ran across a story recently that has stuck with me, and it describes what I am saying very well. It goes back to the days of the Industrial Revolution.

In a factory — a woolen mill — there was a sign posted prominently over every piece of machinery: “If the threads become tangled, call the foreman.”

It so happened that on her first day at work, a new employee found the threads on her machine badly tangled. Immediately she set to work untangling them. Unfortunately, it only made matters worse and slowed down the work of others. Finally, the foreman walked by and scoped out the situation. He sternly pointing to the sign and asked, “Why didn’t you call for me?”

“I didn’t want to bother you, sir,” the new millworker replied. “I was simply trying to do my best.”

The foreman looked kindly on the frightened woman and explained: “Doing your best includes calling the foreman.”

That’s the way God looks on us as well. We love to imagine we’re completely self–sufficient in this life, to believe we are enough all on our own, but we are only fooling ourselves. No matter how gifted, how intelligent, how self-disciplined we may be, there always comes a time when our resources run out. In such an hour, there’s nowhere else for us to turn but to God and God’s faithful followers who serve as the Lord’ hands and feet in today’s world.

Have a blessed week.


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