I’m not much good at asking for help. Never have been. It’s not that I don’t need or don’t want it, it’s just a flaw in my character. A flaw that afflicts my human relations, as well as my relationship with God. I was taught self-reliance at an early age. I was required to help provide for the family with a hunting rifle, a shotgun, fur traps, or a fishing pole from about age 8. In the mountains, Dad made me carry an emergency fire kit, flint and steel exclusively, for two years before I was allowed to carry matches or a lighter.
Independence was not just encouraged, it was ingrained. Later in life, I adopted a career requiring healthy doses of unconventional individualism, personal courage, service to others, and self-sufficiency. “Keep it simple, Kenney. Go here, do that, come home alive.”
Needless to say, I grew up and have lived my life with the understanding that it was largely up to me. Even after becoming a Christian, I occasionally experienced difficulty in asking God for help. Afterall, I reasoned, He built me with all the tools I needed to survive – it was up to me to use them correctly and ON me if I didn’t.
But that’s not what God says at all. In 2 Corinthians 3:5 Paul writes, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God…”
at this point in my life,
God is teaching me His way. "
I’ve spent much of the last year learning that my complete self-reliance can conflict with God’s plan. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually I have been brought to my knees with realization after realization that I do need help, from time to time. Sometimes it is professional help in the form of doctors and lawyers and such. Sometimes it is friends and buddies who refuse to take no for an answer, especially when I am being stubborn and somewhat of a jackalope. Often it has been recognizing the role of my family supporting me vice my supporting them. All of which, I see the hand of God manifest in.
In Corinthians 12:9, Paul again writes that Christ’s grace is sufficient and that His power is perfected in our weakness. Rarely have I seen those words be truer than in the past month.
Most recently, in recovering from hip surgery, every little thing that seemingly could go wrong has. Vehicle repairs with both of our rigs that threatened to leave us stranded. Mysterious, unidentified warning alarms incessantly toning from the bowels of our house at completely random times. Swamp cooler issues with no way to fix and no way to replace (imagine one man, two crutches, and a thirty-foot ladder).
What has amazed me during in this short snap-shot of life, is how blessed we are to live where and how we do. God has placed in our lives people who are generous of their time, knowledge, and resources. He has made me unable to do the things I normally would. The Lord has made me ask for help.
Picking up the phone and starting a conversation with “Listen, brother, I hate to ask this, but. . .” is a skill not practiced and therefore, not perfected. It is, however, something I am getting better at. And the Lord has provided His reinforcement of my humility. Whether it is those individuals who offer expert help in automotive adventures, or those who come over in the middle of the night at the drop-of-a-hat to find the low-voltage transformer screaming in a wall cavity, or whether it is those friends who spend their Independence Day with a screwdriver and a crane to fly a new swamp cooler to our roof and have it running in minutes.
None of these great, common people asked for a reward or for compensation. They just did. Indeed, several may not even be Christians as you and I would recognize them to be. However, each knew their role and each gave unselfishly of themselves. In so doing, they taught me lessons about myself, God’s provision, and the trustworthiness of my friends and neighbors.
Even now, at this point in my life, God is teaching me His way. In short, a little more humility and a little less bullheaded pride, goes a long way. Even for me.