"Would You Like Some Help?"
by Pastor Amy Miller
It’s a question I find myself asking my 4 year old a lot these days. One because we’re all spending a lot of time together during the stay at home order, but also she continues to exert her independence and asking for help isn’t high on her list.
I think for many of us it can be hard to ask for help. For a lot of us, we’d rather be the helper than be the one receiving help. Luke tells the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. It’s a familiar text to Christians. Let me ask you something, how often do you associate with the man left for dead? Not too often, I’m guessing. I think more often we tend to identify with the Good Samaritan, or sometimes we may cringe because we’ve found ourselves in the position of the passerby - too busy getting to where we are going. It’s harder to identify with the one left for dead. It’s harder to identify with the vulnerable, those in need. It’s hard to say “I need help.”
I think COVID-19 continues to remind me of how we’re all in this together. I need you. You need me. We’re all facing and experiencing a global pandemic, we choose how we will respond to this disaster. I think for many us we go into “helper mode” - we ask - how can I help? We see the loss of lives, the difficulties of unemployed and working parents who now wear the additional hat of teacher and we want to help. I think the desire to help is a good moral value. After the recent release of the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” we remember Mister Rodgers who quoted his mother as saying “Look for the helpers.” But it can be hard when you want to “help”… but you feel so helpless. Many have said the best way you can help right now is by staying home. Stay home. Don’t leave your house, that helps others. But… doesn’t that feel so strange? Don’t we want to get out and do something, anything, just a way to feel like we’re making a difference in the world. Our new world we find ourselves in can leave us feeling restless.
Yet I wonder… What if God works in our restlessness? What if we see God most in our weakness? 2 Corinthians 2:19 says “my grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness." We wrestle with wanting to do something, anything, … and our present instruction is to stay home. God can mold us in these moments. These everyday moments. Last week I read a reflection from Ruth Haley Barton… one of my favorite authors and she said… "So I have been wondering if God is calling us to approach this time of social distancing and sheltering in place not merely as something to tough out and get through, but to see it as an invitation to intimacy with God—a time of quieting ourselves and seeking to hear what God has to say to us now that our normal distractions and activities are being stripped away.” It’s good, it’s true but if I’m honest my first thought was “I can guarantee she does not have young children at home.” When I hear “silence” in my home these days I instinctively know something is wrong. Usually it means Jonah is on our Roomba vacuum riding around the living room, and Eliza is hiding in her closet eating chocolate. Yet this article did speak to me in way as if to say... when else in our lifetime are we going to get this “time” back?
I come back to the “would you like some help” question. Initially, I think there are many things I would like help with these days. Someone to play endless games of slapjack and have dance parties with my 4 year old. A person to cuddle with my baby as Dan and I trade him back and forth as we make phone calls. Someone to help me find my cell phone my child lost for a few hours last week. Then I’m reminded in this unique situation, perhaps God wants to help us in a different way. Perhaps God wants to help us experience God in the everyday and the mundane. Perhaps God is freeing us from the pressures of get up, and go, go, go. Perhaps God is inviting us to slow down. Perhaps God is inviting us to wrestle with God in our restlessness. I know it’s going to be different for all of us, but God is a God of invitation, and my guess is God wants us to use this “time” wisely.
Prayer: O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to me, Your servant, that peace which the world cannot give, that my heart may be set to obey Your commandments and also that I, being defended from the fear of my enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen
This Week's Challenge
Read Psalm 121
Try praying a breath prayer. As you inhale pray “my help comes from the Lord” and as you exhale pray “the maker of heaven and earth”. Try this practice several times throughout the day.
If you journal (or if you don’t - give it a try) try reflecting on the questions: Where am I? What is God up to in my life? What does God want me to move toward?