person wearing a yellow raincoat looking out at sea at an approaching storm, waiting

Asking for Help Is Hard

It sounds like a simple formula:

Acknowledge your need.

Ask for help.

Participate in healing.

I noticed this pattern in Jesus’ healings a while ago, and I repeated it to a friend whose whole family is in a place of need. She nodded and said, “But asking for help can be really hard.”

At first, I thought she meant that it is hard to face the fact that we need help. That our pride can get in the way of reaching out or seeking assistance. Humbling ourselves can be hard, but that wasn’t what she meant. As we talked more, she explained how sometimes the pain is so intense and nothing seems to work and it isn’t clear who we can or should ask for help. Sometimes we don’t know who to ask or what to ask. Other times we are too exhausted to think it through. And still other times we have tried and tried and asked and asked and still help has not come.

I think again of the story of the bleeding woman in Mark 5 and how she has been bleeding for twelve years. She has approached countless doctors and spent all her money. She has been asking for help for a long time before healing arrives. 

It makes me think that “ask for help” is not just a step on the journey, not just a check of a box in a quick succession of tasks. “Ask for help” might be lamenting, crying out, enduring, waiting for a very long time. It makes me think that waiting can somehow be a part of healing. 

I don’t have an easy answer to why sincere cries for help are not answered immediately. But I know that those who wait are not alone. And I trust that the God of healing will answer those cries. 

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