I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me, hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
o savior of those who seek refuge
from their aversaries at your right hand.
Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings. (Ps. 17:6-8)
I call upon all kinds of people for help. Council members, colleagues, my poor husband who has to listen to all of my woes and who I often expect to solve my problems or tell me what to do in any difficult situation.
Asking for help is hard. It makes us vulnerable – to criticism, failure, and it forces us to give up control. Often the help we think we want is not the help that we need. We often want help making things go our way, or someone else to handle things we don’t want to deal with. It is never easy to admit that we are not in control of a situation, or are not strong enough or capable of dealing with something. Asking for help unfortunately can turn into a complaining session.
The psalmist calls on God for help. She seems confident in the help God provides – “for you will answer me, O God.”
Do we remember to ask God for help? What would that look like? To step out of the traffic for a moment and call upon God, trusting the psalmist that God is listening and will answer. Asking God for help is difficult in its own way: God is happy to listen to our complaining session, but the help God offers might not be the help we think we want. God might ask us to consider other people’s viewpoints or needs. God might remind us that we are not in control. God might not let us off the hook in a hard situation, but might ask us to tackle it head on.
But the good news is that God will help us and will give us the strength, grace, faith, and insight that we need. Even though we might have to give up our way… Even though God’s way might not be the easy way, God will help us, guide us, and even pick us up when we fall or fail.
In my own life, there are plenty of times that I don’t think I’m strong enough for the challenges I face. Maybe it’s the season of Lent, maybe it’s almost two years into my first call… But I’m beginning to learn that I’m not. But fortunately, I can lean on God and ask for the help that I need, and that makes all the difference in facing each new day. I may not always get the answers I want, but I am learning to call on God, because God will answer me, and I know I’m not on my own to face whatever challenges life throws my way.
When are you tempted to trust in your own strength, rather than lean on God? What situation might you need to call on God for help with?