One night I got a call from a friend’s wife. When I answered, I heard, “See if you can talk some sense into him!” I could hear him crying before he grabbed the phone. He was spiraling downhill and couldn’t stop. For days he had not been able to pull out of this depression and it was reaching the point of no return. I grabbed my keys as I kept him talking while I drove to his house. After about an hour of talking, he pulled up out of it. After a few days, he called back to thanks me, but was upset that I was called. I explained that friends aren’t just there in the good times. They’re there to help us when we’re low and can’t break free too.
The Bible is full of friendships, and when we think of them, Jonathan and David too the list. However, one of the friendships that has always stood out tome is Job’s three friends. I know they didn’t give him good advice, but I love that when they heard what he was going through, they showed up. I also love what Job 2:13 says. “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words” (NLT). Sometimes you just need someone to be present with you instead of words. People like that, who show up in the most desperate times, save lives without having to say a word. Their presence let’s you know you’re not alone. No words needed.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Don’t let pride stand in your way when you need the presence of a friend. Don’t let your pain or embarrassment keep you from reaching out. Every one of us have low moments in life when we need the help of someone to pull us up. Make sure you take time to identify those people in your life who can help you in the low times. Let them know now that they are the person you will call. They don’t have to have a degree in counseling. They don’t have to have all the answers or the right words. They just need to be present so you don’t fall alone.
Have you ever noticed that some of the most trying times in your life have been the most humbling? I can think of multiple times in my life where I was going through some difficult things and I couldn’t even look up. What was going on inside was affecting my outside. The thing that burdened my mind felt like a giant weight on my back. I shuffled around and often didn’t even feel like I had the strength to get up and face the day. By contrast, when I’m carefree, I’m upright, looking around, smiling and saying hello to everyone I meet. There are two different postures here that my body takes based on what’s going on inside. In the good times it’s easy to sing and enjoy life, but I’ve learned that in the most difficult seasons, I need to sing praises even more. Singing praise songs shifts my internal perspective from the weight I’m under to my need for the One who can help me through it. My focus is no longer on my problems, but on the One who has the solution. Praise reminds me that when I can’t, God can.
I love that the stories of David in the Bible share both his triumphs and his pains. His psalms reflect that too. He didn’t just write them when things were going to plan and when he was on top of the world. Many were written in times of desperation. In each of them, he continued to pour his heart out to God knowing He was the only one He trusted to help him. The psalms he left behind for us to read are great prayers, songs and reminders to look to God in times of plenty and in times of pain. I go to them pretty often because I know that they often give me words for the way I’m feeling, they give me prayers when I don’t know how to pray in those seasons and they give me encouragement as they remind me to put my hope in God. Even when we feel abandoned under our heavy load, the psalms remind us that God has not forgotten us and is our strength in time of need.
One such psalm I love in the last one that David wrote which is a psalm of praise and full of reminders. Psalm 145:14 reminds us, “The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads” (NLT). There is help for us when we’ve fallen down under our heavy load and feel like we should just stay down. God is there with an outstretched hand ready to lift us up. He sends people to pray for us, to encourage us and to help carry the load. However, it always requires us to reach out and take His hand and accept the help He sends. It can be quite humbling at times to admit we need help, or to accept that we can’t do it on our own. In those times I remind myself not to let my pride stand in the way of my progress and growth. I’ve learned that many times my struggles are an attempt to remind me to trust in God rather than my own strength. It’s a way for me to learn to accept help rather than to give it. Receiving help is as much an act of obedience as giving it. Don’t let pride stand in your way during those times.
No matter who you are, you’ll need help at some point in your life. You will face things that you can’t do on your own. If you’re like me, you try to do it alone anyway. My pride says, “You don’t need anyone’s help. You got into this by yourself, you can get out of it by yourself.” I try to project strength instead of admitting my weakness. What inevitability happens is that I end up wearing myself out in the process. One time, I collapsed on the floor and cried out to God, “I can’t do this anymore! Help me.” He replied, “Finally.”
God was waiting on me to look to Him for help, but my pride kept me from it. I had to endure a lot more pain than necessary because I wasn’t willing to admit I needed help. Since that time, I’ve learned to look to Him first when I need help. It doesn’t take long to pray, “God, I can’t do this on my own. I need your help.” It does take humility though, but God honors that. He wants to help us with our daily issues.
David learned this lesson as well. After being anointed king, he was constantly in danger and was running for his life. He learned to quit trying to go at it alone, and to go to God. In Psalm 25:15, he wrote, “I look to the Lord for help at all times.” He didn’t just go to God with some things. He went to Him with all his issues, and God came to His rescue. It wasn’t because David was any different that us. It was because David was humble enough to recognize he needed help from God daily.
Whatever you’re facing today, God stands ready to help. He’s waiting for us to trust His all sufficient grace to help us get through life. Don’t wait until you’re mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted before you cry out for help. Let go of your pride, and look to God for help at all times. It’s not a weakness to admit you need help. It takes strength to overcome your pride and admit it. Once you do, you’ll find that God is willing and able to step in and do what needs to be done.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.