Authored by Steve Hearts
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You may have heard that love is humanity’s greatest need. And it is! But I’d like to address another great need which I think is no less important, yet it often goes unrecognized: this is humanity’s need for help. This need can be extremely difficult to acknowledge and admit for a number of reasons, some of which may be not wishing to burden someone, wanting to preserve a self-sufficient, independent image, or perhaps an unwillingness to face reality when it’s painful. So we often choose the path of denial, and in so doing, end up hurting both ourselves and others.
As I explained in a previous podcast, I became blind at birth. I was a child when I realized and understood the extent of my blindness and what it meant for my life and future, but I chose the path of denial. I was unwilling to accept the need to learn to read braille, as I didn’t like that it was different from how others around me were reading. This state of mind severely stunted my growth and progress. Realizing how much pain and frustration I was causing my loved ones is what helped me snap out of this state, and thankfully I have never fallen back into it.
One thing that motivates me to face and accept my need for help from others is remembering the times when the tables were turned, and the help I wanted to offer my loved ones was refused. Some of those dearest to my heart became chronically ill—but refused to seek medical help in spite of the insistence of myself and others. By the time they gave in, it was too late.
Still, it’s difficult for me to continually seek the help that I need, and there have been times when I attempted to do things on my own that I wasn’t entirely sure about, and I ended up regretting it.
Once, when my electric shaver was out of commission, I tried to use a regular blade on my own, and cut myself badly. My actions could have proved fatal if I had not stopped and called for help when I did.
When I was a teenager learning to touch type with a braille keyboard, one day I decided to take advantage of an available computer to practice my latest typing exercise. I had no screen-reading software and needed help opening the necessary programs, but no one was available to assist me. I went ahead with my plan anyway. When my dad came home and saw what I’d been doing, he told me I’d ruined a project he was working on, which would take him a considerable amount of time to fix.
Another similar situation occurred when I was a teenager. I was learning to play drums and regularly practiced on my older brother’s set. One day, while he was away, I attempted to make a slight adjustment to one of the cymbals. In the process, to my brother’s displeasure, I ended up slightly damaging the cymbal.
Just recently, I attempted to get something that was situated in a dangerous place and suffered a fall that could have been fatal if it hadn’t been for the Lord’s mercy. I came out with only a couple of bruises and a banged-up back, from which I’m still recovering. As thankful as I am to be alive and well, I have not lost sight of the fact that I could have avoided this had I only asked for help.
A healthy dose of self-sufficiency is good. But I’ve always been sobered by the story about a man named Joe, a novice machinist who worked in an airplane factory. He was chosen to run a new machine, but his boss told him to call if a problem occurred, and not to try to fix it himself. He agreed, and the boss left him to the task. Eventually, a problem did come up, but Joe was sure he could fix it himself. In doing so, he ended up wrecking the machine and lost his job.
I once asked a blind friend for advice on crossing streets unaccompanied, since I have not yet tackled this challenge. I expected him to give me tips on proper cane usage, the gaining of greater confidence, or what have you. But his response fell under none of these categories. Instead he said, “Never be afraid to ask for help when crossing a street—even if from total strangers. The way people drive around here, it can be risky not to do so. Also, never think you’ll get to be so independent that you’ll never need to ask for anyone else’s help again.”
As I read the biblical accounts of the life of Jesus, I was amazed to find how often He asked for others’ help during His ministry. Before raising Lazarus from the dead, He asked those present to “roll away the stone.”1 Before turning water into wine, He asked for help filling up the pots and serving the water once it was transformed.2 If anyone could have handled such situations on His own, it would have been Jesus; I believe He deliberately chose to take the humble road and ask for help, setting a wonderful example for us.
Another form of denial is not recognizing the help God sends us when we ask for it. We continue to ask even when He has sent the answer our way. Like the preacher who was caught in a flood when a river overflowed its banks. He prayed for help and was so confident his prayer would be heard that when three separate rescue boats came around, he would not climb aboard, stating that the Lord would save him. He eventually died and came face to face with his Maker. The man asked God why He had not saved him. “But I tried!” replied God. “I sent three boats to pick you up.”
Do you find yourself in need of help, either physical or divine? If so, don’t choose the path of denial. Rather, admit your need, swallow your pride, and sing along with the Beatles:
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down.
And I do appreciate you being ’round.
Help me get my feet back on the ground.
Won’t you please, please help me! Help me! Help me!
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down.
God has promised to hear our call, and loves to help, especially when we humble ourselves to ask Him or others. He will send help in the way and time He knows is best. He will never fail to answer. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”4
1 John 11:39
2 John 2:7–8
3 From the single and soundtrack Help!
4 Jeremiah 33:3 NIV
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2013 by The Family International