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Calling For Help

Midland's SA sponsored an Open Gym night on Saturday evening, October 29th. As part of the vespers, Spiritual Director Kristi Tucker presented the following devotional. I had originally planned to extract parts of it, but it's too good (in my editorial opinion) to do a Reader's Digest on. Enjoy!

Calling for Help
by Kristi Tucker

I have learned several things from playing a setter in volleyball; where different people like the ball set to, what sets work best in different situations, and when and where to tip it over. One of my biggest problems is not knowing when to call for help. My freshman year of playing I would sit on the bench watching experienced setters who would run the entire court to get the ball, or do a heroic dive so someone could get a hit off her set.

When sophomore year came and I got to play setter for JV, I was determined to always take second hit. I soon realized that I am not as fast as others. I couldn’t do the whole running dive thing. I had to learn how to call for help when I couldn’t get to the ball. This was a hard concept for me because to me, setters were to do whatever they could to get second hit.

I started this year with the same thought process of “I have to get every ball.” Just this last game I was in a rotation where I have to run from the other side of the court just to be in the setter’s position. When the ball was served I started running. Now if you have ever played setter, you know that passes aren’t always good. This was one of those passes; you know the ones where the ball is passed way on the other side of the court and a little out of bounds? I was running as fast as I could to get this ball, but it still hit the ground, and it hit the ground near the feet of a teammate.

Now the question in all of your minds right now is why didn't the teammate help? Well there's a good answer and my teammate Alicia, whose feet this ball landed by, provided the answer. “If you need help,” she said, “you have to call for it.”


If you need help, you have to call for it. So why is it so hard these days to ask for help?

We like to be the hero who gets every set or hit perfect, or has the leading points scored in basketball, or has the best activity ideas, or never needs the teacher’s help with problems. When we ask for help it makes us feel like we aren’t good enough, or that people are looking down on us. We think, “if I don’t do this all people will think I can’t handle it, and that I shouldn’t be doing it.”

This isn't a new problem, but it’s a real one and a really important one to talk about. I want to share three short stories from the Bible with you to illustrate this point, but first I want to tell you about a little machine from the basement of my Grannie's house.

A lot of things need tied up, wrapped up, and more at a farm, so for decades twine has been a pretty important part of running the farm. But one strand of twine is not that strong. When Katie drove the van into the ditch a few years ago as we were first learning to drive, Uncle Milan didn't say, “go grab a piece of twine, we need to pull the car out.” He didn't say “go grab three different pieces of twine.” Why? Because whether it was one piece of twine or three pieces of twine, it wouldn't matter. The twine would have broken when we started to pull the van out of the ditch.

Back to the little machine in the basement. This machine takes three strands of twine and weaves it into a rope. A rope that is really strong. The same three strands that would have snapped if used to pull a van out of a ditch, are now strong enough for the task.

Which brings me to our first point. We have to know when we should call for help. And we have to be willing to receive it.

Peter is in the upper room with Jesus and the other disciples. They are all looking around uncomfortably with an obvious elephant in the room. There's no servant there to wash their feet. That's just not something you take turns doing. This is a servant's task. But you know the story well, because we as a church practice foot washing before communion. Jesus takes the towel and a basin of water and starts to address the elephant in the room by playing the role of the servant and washing the disciple’s feet. Peter objects. He's not looking for help from Jesus on this one. But Jesus tells him, “Peter if I can't help you like this, you're not connected to me and you are on your own.” The message was clear, you'll be the unbraided twine and you'll fail when tested. Peter responds, “then help me, don't just wash my feet, wash all of me.”

When we ask for the help of someone, we become stronger people. When we accept help we can get more done than by working alone. Back to my volleyball example. As a setter, I can’t single-handedly win the game. I can’t take every pass; it’s a big court and I’m small. If the first hit wasn’t where it should be I need someone to help me by taking that second pass so that it can set someone up for a hit. When we help each other and work as a team we can do great things.

Which brings us to point number two. Never presume that you're alone. When we think we're all alone and there's no point to call for help because no one out there cares, God has something to say.

Prophet Elijah was discouraged. No one seemed to be listening to his messages. The people seemed so caught up in the things that took their focus off of God. Everyone was worshiping a false god. It just didn't matter anymore. No one cared.

God had some different information to share. There's not just one other person out there, Elijah. There are tons of people who have stayed true to me. You are not alone.

With renewed courage, Elijah continued his mission and turned a nation back to God.

When we presume we are alone, volleyballs hit the ground near the feet of teammates, and points are lost. As an MAA student, the only time when you are ever alone is when you think you are. Let me put that another way: as an MAA student, you are NEVER alone. Never forget that during the times when it doesn't feel that way. Call out for help. We can’t succeed if we don’t call for help. People are more than willing to help you; all you have to do is ask.

Which brings us to the third point. You need God, the third part of our rope. First, you need you to know that you need help. Second, we need others and need to know that others are there.

Let's let Gideon tell us about the third part.

Gideon has brought the grain in from the farm field and he is grinding it so that it can be made into bread or some other food. Suddenly an angel appears.

Let's pause to put this in context. Gideon's country is occupied by the enemy. Living is a bit unbearable. They would like their freedom back and everyone is kind of waiting on a person to step forward to do this. Gideon's no Larry Boy claiming that I Am That Hero! In fact he's quite the opposite. He's the least person in the least tribe of Israel. He's not buff like Landon. He's not the strong senior guy, he's a wimpy freshman.

So when the angel from God shows up, Gideon's immediate response is, “I think you got this wrong. Angel, I'm not a Frishman, I'm a freshman.”

But God didn't have it wrong. What he wanted Gideon and the entire nation of Israel to understand was that when you call out to Him for help, when you make God the third piece of twine that makes the rope, amazing things can happen. When you call out for help, your wimpy piece of twine, combined with God and others becomes a powerful rope. Gideon and the army of 300 didn't win the battle, Gideon, the army and God won the battle.

No one who calls out for help ever walks alone. But sometimes you do have to call. As Alicia said, “If you need help, you have to call for it.”

”God is the strength of my heart and portion forever,” our verse says. God will help you, you just have to call on him. In times of trouble you can depend on God and we can depend on one another.