I am terrible at asking for help. Some people don’t ask for help because they don’t want to inconvenience others. But me? I don’t ask for help because I truly believe that I am capable of handling everything. I like to be the one who has it all together. I give an excessive amount of attention to what I think I am. And I think I am not someone who needs help.
God, in his forever patience, humbles me over and over again and reminds me of my need for help from Him. God has taught me a lot about what I am not so that I can better see who he is. Though I am still terrible at asking for help, these three points remind me of why I need to ask anyway.
1) I am not all-powerful
I want to be the one who has all the power. Sin boils out of my heart and makes me want control over my life. I don’t want to be subject to anyone or anything – I want to be the one with all the power.
In John 15:4, Jesus tells his disciples to remain in him. We can try our darndest to remain in Jesus, but we will break off the vine every time. We are not strong, we do not have the power to hold on. Remaining in Jesus means that he’s the one in control. Jesus is the one who holds us fast, he is the one who remains in us, and he is the only one capable of doing so.
We need to ask the all-powerful One for help because He is the only one who can actually follow through on his promise to remain (John 15:7).
2) I am not all-knowing
The term “smart aleck” is a favorite insult of those that know me best, and with good reason. One of the hardest phrases for me to say is “I don’t know” – especially when it comes to what the Lord is doing in my life.
I don’t like being in the dark about God’s plan. But what I call “being in the dark” is really just a selfish desire to be a know-it-all. Sometimes I convince myself that God is holding out on me.
John 15:15-16 says “I do not call you servants any more, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.”
When we were made friends of Jesus, we inherited knowledge that transcends our own finite minds. This knowledge is God’s knowledge, not ours, but he still gives it to us freely. If we don’t understand why God is “keeping us in the dark,” we can ask him for wisdom. We can trust that God has made everything known to us that we need to know.
We need to ask the all-knowing One for help because He is the only one who actually holds all wisdom and can give it to us freely (John 15:15).
3) I am not all-present
It’s hard to know where you belong. Most of us know the feeling of being “out of place” whether with our families, churches, or friends. We have an inner feeling of “restlessness,” as Augustine described it. Restlessness produces in me a desire to be everywhere in part and nowhere in full.
When I spread myself thin, I lose my sense of belonging. I am tempted to think much of the world and its woes, and very little of God. I forget where I belong, but more importantly, I forget who I belong to.
Christians do not belong to the world. The world hates us and does not call us its own. “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but [God] has chosen you out of it, the world hates you” (John 15:19).
In this life, we will be persecuted, and when this happens, we may question why we are hated. We can remember that we are enduring persecution because Jesus endured it first. But we don’t go at it alone. God gives us our place, and he did so through the suffering of Jesus and by giving us the Counselor (John 15:26). We cannot be everywhere, so it is imperative that we know where we belong. And we belong with God.
We need to ask the all-present One for help because he is the only one who actually is our resting place and can show us that we truly belong with him (John 15:27).
In closing, when we recognize our human limitations and our need for help, God’s eternal power, knowledge, and presence can guide us into his eager-to-help arms. God wants us to come to him, and we can trust him with all our needs.