A story was told of a man who suffered from insomnia and decided to ice skate one night. His wife and children were asleep. The pond he trekked toward was two acres away from his house. The moon caused the ice to shimmer, providing just enough light for him to skate. But that was his undoing. He didn’t see the thin ice thirty feet ahead. In a nanosecond he was underwater. The temperature of the water propelled him to the surface. He gasped for air and screamed for help in concert. His family never heard him. He was close to home, but far away from help.
So many people are helpless today, but don’t dare admit it, unlike the people of Afghanistan. They have no trouble yelling for help, especially when our military started backing away this month. They knew the enemy would immediately fill in the gap where American servicemen and women held their post.
There are two types of people: those who need help and acknowledge it, and those who need help yet remain silent. Both groups are helpless.
Spiritually, it does take faith to reach out to the God we’ve never laid eyes on, when the chasm between us seems so far away. But is it?
It’s been said that the average distance at the Grand Canyon between the north rim and the south rim is ten miles. I’ve been to this national park twice. The first time was with teenagers in 1999, and the second was with my bride. My initial visit occurred on a rainy day and I couldn’t see that far beyond where I stood due to fog, clouds and rain. Years later, in 2019, when my wife and I visited, it was a clear day which provided an intimidating view of the vast distance between us and the other side. What an abyss!
What keeps folks from requesting spiritual help? Dane Ortlund sizes up the issue, “And without realizing what we are doing, we quietly assume that one so high and exalted has corresponding difficulty drawing near to the despicable and unclean. Sure, Jesus comes close to us, we agree—but he holds his nose.”
Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t keep his distance or hold his nose when he sees us, smells us, touches us and embraces us. He does the opposite.
Ortlund continues, “He doesn’t simply meet us at our place of need; he lives in our place of need. He never tires of sweeping us into his tender embrace. It is his very heart. It is what gets him out of bed in the morning.” (Gentle and Lowly)
But what Ortlund wrote begs the question: “So why do people still stay away and refuse to ask for help from the only One who can help? I can’t answer that. Sure, if I was being churchy, I’d say it’s due to sin or a lack of faith. I’m not denying those responses are true. I just know there are other reasons that aren’t so black and white.
Honestly, I get tired of asking God for help sometimes. Who doesn’t like the feeling of self-sufficiency. But the late Oswald Chambers makes it clear, “As long as you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.” (My Utmost for His Highest)
I’ve prayed, “God, aren’t you tired of me? I just talked to you a few hours ago and here I am again.” Our six month old granddaughter spent the night with my wife and I recently for the very first time. How many times did I pick her up when she had a need. She got hungry. I picked her up and gave her a bottle. She got fussy. I picked her up and sang to her. She got sleepy. I picked her up and rocked her.
We are God’s children. If he knows the number of the hairs on my head and has my name engraved on the palm of his hand, then I can’t stay away from him. Neither should you. He’s the only One who knows me better than myself, my best friend, or my wife.
It’s okay to be helpless, but never forget—you are close to home where God dwells—the heart, not far away from help.
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”