A Reflection on Helping and Accepting Help 3/10/22
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows.
And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows-- was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.
I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
One of the most difficult parts of my journey with low blood sugar and its impacts on my body has been the grand mal seizures I have experienced. Actually, the seizures themselves have not been the hard part. I don’t remember them at all. However, the six months of not being able to drive per Georgia Law and subsequently having to rely on others has been really difficult for me.
And it is not just because not being able to drive is inconvenient but because I have to ask others for help.
You see, I am not good at asking for help. I would much rather be the one providing help as opposed to the one getting help. Perhaps it is my own desire to be fiercely independent or my belief in the myth of the American ideal that we should each “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps” or perhaps it is just plain stubbornness. (I think Laura would say it is the last of those.)
Whatever it is I am not good at asking for or admitting sometimes that I need help. In fact, I might even have decided to walk to a store on a cold winter day to get the antibiotics that had been prescribed for a sinus infection as opposed to calling someone for a ride.
The same has been true for other things in my life unrelated to blood sugar and seizures - stuff like asking for help moving furniture or help holding ladders to clean gutters. The stubbornness with furniture moving has led to hurting muscles and back pain and the gutter/ladder situation might have had me ending up stuck on the roof for an afternoon.
There are other things that my failure to ask for help has led to negative results that I could share but I think you get the idea.
Too often I fail to turn things over to God or even ask for the Lord’s help. I decide that I don’t need God and the result is I end up making a mess of things. Sometimes it is with my strengths but often it is with my weaknesses. You know what weaknesses are right? They are those areas of our lives where we need help the most help and often the same areas we try our hardest to hide from others including God.
In my pride forget that Jesus offered to carry our burdens so we can live a full life. A life filled to the brim.
Friends the truth is there are times when we all need help from others and even more so from God.
Our creator knew this, and it is why God sent Jesus for you and me and all of humanity. And it is why we have the gift of the Holy Spirit to walk with us in our daily life. And it is why we are called to live in community so that we can help others and give folks the gift of allowing them to help us when we are in need.
What I am learning is that when I give my worries and anxieties over to God, when I let others pray for me, and when I allow God to use others as vessels to carry me when I cannot carry myself both I and they are blessed. Just like those times when I am able to help others. In these moments burdens become lighter and God somehow transforms even imperfections and weaknesses for the Glory of the Kingdom.
We should all give to God the things that restrict and limit us just like Paul shared he did in his letter to the Church at Corinth.
I recently read of one church where there was an alcoholic on the church roll who insisted on buying the wine for Communion. When the new pastor of this church learned about this practice, he sat down with him and asked him why. The man said, “Because there is something powerful and profoundly spiritual about going in to buy that wine, then giving it to the church, and seeing the preacher dedicate it to God and then knowing that that which is a weakness to me (he could have said a thorn in his flesh) becomes something that transforms people’s lives. “
Friends offering to God that which enslaves us is one of the first steps on a road towards living a full life - a life of real abundance - a life that is indeed full to the brim.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – Alleluia Amen.