Accepting help from others is one of the hardest things to do. It flies in the face of our “self-sufficient”, “I’ve got it all together”, “perfect Instagram image” lives. Have you ever stopped to consider we might have it all wrong?
We’re going to open God’s Word and see what we can learn about accepting help from others.
We’ll look at a couple of Old and New Testament help stories and, as usual, I’ll pepper in devotion questions. First, I want to share how God got my attention.
Today I found myself getting frustrated and a wee mad at my family.
Because they were doing what any loving family would do when a family member needs help.
Me, I was the one who may have needed help and… graciously accepting help from others is oh so hard for me. One of these days God will have worked the “Hannah do” out of me.
It started last week when God blessed me with a continuous glucose monitor that connects to smartphones. After one too many horrible low blood sugar experiences, I’d agreed to connect my blood sugar to my mom and sisters phones.
They now have a graph on their phone showing every last thing my blood sugar does. Ummmm.
I feel like I’ve just put my entire life on a big giant billboard for everyone to see, comment, and make suggestions on.
When my blood sugar reaches certain levels their phones alarm and as soon as those alarms sound…Mom calls and sister texts.
I should be grateful but I’m struggling.
I don’t know what it’s like for them to find me unresponsive. Don’t know what it’s like to call 911 to save someone’s life. I don’t know what they’ve experienced.
How’ve I been responding to their help? Not so nice.
And after snarkily hanging up the phone with my mom, the Holy Spirit convicted me. He’s always so gracious with His convictions but it’s a grace that sometimes cuts like a knife.
It got me thinking about help though and why it’s so hard for many of us to accept it. I can’t be the only one who struggles to accept help, right?
Why We Should Accept Help
The short answer to why we should accept help from others is, it’s modeled throughout Scripture. Both the Old and New Testament are overflowing with examples of people asking for and accepting help.
I’ve picked a couple of these stories so we could study them together, with the Holy Spirit. Boy oh boy was it hard narrowing them down.
Part of what I hope you and I learn from these stories is this –
Help is a two-way street, of giving and receiving, traveled by everyone.
People need and are to offer help.
Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Old Testament Help Stories
Go figure, my favorite story of Moses also happens to be one where he needs help.
As Israel was traipsing through the desert they were attacked by a fierce nomadic tribe that killed for “pleasure”. Eeek!
Moses told Joshua to quickly gather some fighting men and he’d be on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands. As long as Moses kept his hands, with the staff, held up – the Israelite’s were winning.
Every time Moses’ arms got tired and lowered – the fierce tribe started winning.
Moses needed help so Israel would win the battle.
Aaron and Hur (who just happened to be on the hill) quickly came up with a solution. They moved a rock so Moses could sit down and then stood on either side of him, holding up his hands until sunset.
Here’s what’s awesome about this rock situation. From the battlefield Moses appeared to still be standing with upraised arms. Those below didn’t know Moses was being held up. They didn’t need to.
Exodus 17:13 says “So Joshua overcame the Amelekite army with the sword.”
Moses had offered to do something not realizing what sustaining it entailed. Those around him recognized the need and provided the solution. Teamwork focused on the Lord, not Joshua’s sword, won the battle.
Naaman was a brilliant army commander but…he had leprosy (I love the “buts” God put in the Bible). Leprosy was a feared and incurable disease of Naaman’s time.
An Israeli servant girl in Naaman’s home, had said “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:3
Her leap of faith sent her master to another country, separating him from the troops he led, and sending him to a prophet who wasn’t exactly expecting him would work. Her unshakable faith believed God was big enough to do just what she’d told her master He would.
After getting permission to go, Naaman headed for Israel loaded down with a letter for Israel’s king and approximately 9.2 million dollars (based on my internet search and calculations).
He obviously hadn’t listened to the servant girl too well. She’d said “prophet” not king.
When he finally made it to the prophet, he stormed off angry. See, Elisha had told him to go wash in a pretty scuzzy river, the Jordan.
Naaman had let pride blind him to his need, a disease guaranteed to kill him. It was his servants who convinced Naaman to turn around and follow Elisha’s instructions.
What happened? “His flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” 2 Kings 5:14b
Wanna know the best part of this story? Naaman told Elisha “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” 2 Kings 5:15
God uses our offering and accepting of help, to bring about changes with eternal value.
Help involves faith and it brings life changing victory. Now let’s take a look at some help examples Jesus left.
New Testament Help Stories
This is an awesome story of asking for help. The Centurion in this story was a wealthy man with a lot of power and resources at his fingertips.
But he was humble enough to go to Jesus, not for his need, but his servants.
He understood getting things done at the snap of his fingers. In Luke 7:8 he told Jesus “I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
Jesus, in Matthew 8:10 says “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” and in verse 13 Jesus says “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.”
Jesus helped the Centurion because he had the boldness to ask for help and confidence in Jesus’ ability.
Twelve Years of Suffering
This story involves Jesus helping two different people.
The story begins when a synagogue ruler comes to Jesus and begs Him to come heal his dying daughter. As Jesus is walking to the man’s house, surrounded by a thick crowd of people, we encounter the second person needing help. Throughout scripture she’s known as the “woman with the issue of blood”.
First, can you imagine needing help because your child was dying?
Back to the woman who needed help.
She’d been bleeding for 12 years, had been to every doctor imaginable, spent all her money, and…was getting worse and not better. Mark 5:28 says “she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed’.”
As soon as she touched the hem of Jesus’ clothes her bleeding stopped and she knew she’d been healed. Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you”.
As this was happening the synagogue ruler got word his daughter had died. Jesus looked at him and said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36
Once at the man’s house, Jesus said “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” Mark 5:39. He then went in and told her to get up and she did, immediately.
These stories both show we have to ask for help and have unshakable faith in the one who provides our every need.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus also helps people with no faith, weak faith, or wavering faith. While sometimes those with unshakable faith feel He doesn’t hear or do anything about what they’ve asked for help with.
Know that you know that you know – God always hears and He always answers.
I know many people who’d trade anything to have a mom and sister who love like mine. And while I didn’t ask for their help, I’ve certainly asked for God’s help with my broken body.
It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realized God had answered my prayer (sometimes I’m a slow learner).
He doesn’t want us to.
As you’re pondering over your needs I’d like you to think about a few more things. Here’s a PDF with questions to go along with the above scriptures (and these next ones):
- Who has God placed in your life to help you?
- Have you asked them for help or ignored the help they’ve offered?
When you and I humbly accept help from others we’re modeling Christlikeness to them and anyone else around (or who hears about whatever happened).
Since we’re called to reflect God to the world, I know I need to be sure my attitude isn’t messing that up.
- How have your responses to offered help or your requests for help reflected God?
We need to approach God’s throne of grace with the same confidence Moses, Naaman, the Centurion, synagogue ruler and bleeding woman had.
Confidence that has absolute faith in God and that expects Him to hear and act. Even if we don’t like the way He decides to act.
We’ve gotta remember, God knows what’s best for us, we don’t.
- How will asking for and accepting help make you a stronger woman of God?
I’ll leave you with the same verse we started with. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
May you confidently accept and offer help.
May the limitless mercy and grace of our loving God meet your every need.
May your current season of need bring God honor and glory and praise.
May lives be changed for the better because of how God helps you through your need.
We’d love to hear how God’s helped you today. Leave a comment below or send us an email here.
After today’s post, we thought the below posts might assist you in asking for help or planning when you can make time to offer help.
- You’re Not too Busy to Plan – so you can plan to help others
- What the Bible says About Taking Care of Your Body – ask someone to do this with you or to help you in some way.
- 10 Meal Planning Tips – if you live with others, everyone should help with meal planning (and cooking).
Here’s a couple of posts with recipes so you can get help with meal planning and cooking.