Friends had come to visit and to help, but I couldn’t have been more horrified if the people at my door had been bandits or kidnappers. Number one, I was on the couch. Number two, I had been sick for weeks and the house must have looked like a train wreck. (Fortunately, my memory has blotted out those details.) Number three, Mount Laundry had taken over my living room, because I was going to try to fold some diapers . . . eventually. Number four, I was in my pajamas!
Sick and exceedingly pregnant with my fourth son, I was in need of help, but too stubborn to ask for it. The angels of mercy who arrived at my door on that winter evening over two decades ago folded all my laundry (even the diapers!) and left a complete meal to be heated up the next day. Sadly, instead of feeling loved, ministered to, or even relieved, all I could feel was mortification!
Receive Grace with Humility
I really should have known better. After all, I had been on the opposite end of that equation countless times, my casserole dishes traveling far and wide to the sick and the discouraged. The truth is that my judgment was clouded by pride, insecurity, and feelings of unworthiness. Somewhere along the way, the wrong drumbeat had become my marching companion:
Be the helper, never the helped.
Be the giver, never the receiver.
Be the strong, never the weak.
The writing of Dietrich Bonhoeffer diagnoses my faulty thinking with skill:
“It is not our judgment of the situation which can show us what is wise, but only the truth of the Word of God.”
Looking for wisdom? Start here: “It is not our judgment of the situation which can show us what is wise, but only the truth of the Word of God.” ~Dietrich BonhoefferTweet
In a careful reading of Psalm 121, I experience a much-needed realignment of my warped perspective:
I lift my eyes to the hills.Psalm 121:1
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”
God stands ready to help – not with a promise of a perfect, trouble-free life (or an illness-free pregnancy), but with everyday help to walk through hard times in the way of faith. Slowly, it has begun to dawn on me that it is often His plan to use fellow travelers on the road to provide that help.
The Wisdom of Taking God’s Grace
So, when I’m feeling scorched and overwhelmed like a traveler too long in the sun, I am learning to take counsel from the pilgrim who wrote Psalm 121. God’s interest in me is unwavering. He calls himself a Guardian (or Keeper) eight times in the psalm, and He does not slumber on His watch. He is the perfect traveling companion.
In addition, like that Jerusalem-bound pilgrim, I would do well to monitor my focus while I’m on the road. Remember, soul, your help comes from the maker of the hills, the maker of heaven and earth.
So, why do I keep catching myself lifting my eyes to . . . the fridge?
Or to the consoling notion of my accomplishments?
Or to the number of likes on my latest social media post?
Taking Bonhoeffer’s advice, once again, the truth of the Word shows me what is wise: my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
- He is a living help, and I am wise to look to Him before all other sources of comfort.
- He may choose to send help to me through one of His people, and if I am wise, I will take it!
At times, I still struggle with graciously receiving help from others, but I have learned that those angels of mercy who showed up at my door to fold my laundry and feed my family had not come because they wanted to catch me being lazy or to make me feel weak and incompetent. They had been sent by God, and, at the same time, He was sending me on a pilgrimage of understanding: My help comes from the Lord.
- How is God working in your life to teach the humility of receiving help?
- When God sends you on a pilgrimage of understanding, do you travel willingly?
Holding You in the Light,
“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?” Remember, soul, your help comes from the maker of the hills, the maker of heaven and earth. #SundayScriptureTweet
How Will You Come Close to God in the Days Leading up to Easter? (Here’s a FREE Resource to Help…)
As a gift to my newsletter subscribers, I’ve created a collection of 20 devotional readings called Come Close to the Story, a preparation for your true celebration of resurrection on Easter Sunday. This Lenten season I invite you to join me for a daily pause—most readings should take five minutes or less—to come close to the story. In your busy life, remember that Easter is on its way. Affirm your belief in resurrection power, and then admit that without a death, there would be no resurrection.
Every month I send a newsletter with biblical encouragement straight to my subscribers’ email inboxes. Frequently, I share free resources, and the newsletter is where everything lands first. I’m committed to the truth that women can become confident followers of God and students of his Word, and it’s my goal to help you along that path.
To add this free resource to your pursuit of biblical literacy and to make Come Close to the Story part of your Lenten observance, simply enter your email and then click on the button below…
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or products I’ve shared, simply click on the image, and you’ll be taken directly to the seller. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission
Photo by rolf neumann on Unsplash
9 thoughts on “Learning to Receive with Grace: Does My Help Really Come from the Lord?”
It can be hard to accept help. It is something we learn over time. I still struggle with asking for help, but I am SO thankful that our help comes from God and He does send others to help us, despite ourselves.
Yes, even when it’s in spite of ourselves!
LikeLiked by 1 person
We always try to have everything at its best–including ourselves–when people come over. It’s hard when people come over when everything is far from its best. But I am glad they do in the long run. I’ve been the recipient of someone cleaning my bathrooms (embarrassing but so helpful) to bringing meals to taking my kids for a while. There’s something about seeing someone in a time of need and “not best” that makes them seem more human and approachable than when they are always well put-together.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I agree. We always want to put our best self on display, but that conflicts with our desperate need to be known and loved for our authentic self.
And you are so right about the connection that comes with being vulnerable. I’m convinced that it’s worth it, but I don’t enjoy the process…
LikeLiked by 1 person
It is hard being on the receiving end of help when we’d rather be the one on the giving end. But it’s a lesson we all need to learn. Being a gracious receiver is just as important in the circle of life as being a gracious giver! I have a friend who always tells me, “Don’t block the blessing.” 🙂
It is so hard and humbling to accept help. This quote from Bonhoeffer is a good antidote to our pride!
Yes, and to my endless noodling as if I could come up with an answer to the problems of the universe from my brain.
Oh, this is beautiful, Michele. Sometimes when I think about it, I wonder why it’s so easy for some people to simply ask, depend on others, or be vulnerable enough to show they’re weak. And sometimes, it’s tiring to be the tough and dependable one. It could be taxing to be the bigger person. But I’d rather be the giver and helper than the one receiving it. I think that’s just how I am. And I’m grateful for God’s strength and provision that enable me to do that.
It does seem that asking for help comes more easily to some people, and I think it’s a matter of trust. I want to trust my people to love me even if I’m not on top of my game and need help from them. I think, at times, that it takes as much grace to receive as it does to be the giver…