On Being Stuck and Asking for Help
A couple of years ago, my family and I were early for a lunch appointment with some family friends. We are rarely early for appointment! Because we had some extra time, we decided to take a drive to a nearby lake as it was a beautiful day. It was December 30th, but a warm day, so we drove to a lakeshore to admire the beauty of nature. The drive to this particular lakeshore was on a dirt road and down a steep hill. We had no problems descending the hill, but when we tried to drive back up the hill our minivan simply would not make the climb. We tried many times to drive up the hill, but to no avail.
First my husband tried to drive up the hill with all of us in the van. But the van would get about halfway up and then slide back down on the ice. Then we all got out and he tried again, with the same results. Then, I tried driving with my husband and our kids pushing the van, but still the van slid back down the hill. We were frustrated with being stuck on this hill, it was getting colder and now we were missing our lunch appointment. As time went on, we kept trying the same thing over and over and we kept getting the same unsuccessful results with the hill and the van. We even had a family argument about whose idea it was to drive down the hill and whose fault it was for not being able to drive up the hill. We even yelled at each other about the predicament we were in. Then we decided we needed help and we called a tow truck!
It took the tow truck an hour to arrive, but only 2 minutes to pull our minivan up the hill. As we were thanking and paying the driver for his services, he remarked that he comes to this lakeshore often during the winter, because many people drive down the hill only to discover that they can’t get back up. He said that most of the time people take a long time to decide to ask for help.
Often in the church, both in the local church and in the national church we find ourselves, like with our mini-van, stuck. I have just returned from General Conference in Tampa where I was a delegate and I believe that as a denomination – we are stuck. And like what happened with the Carey family, when we are stuck, we often try and try the same things over and over again, hoping for different results. And like what happened with the Carey family, when we are stuck we get frustrated, angry and sometimes we yell at one another and say unkind things.
Yet the truth is that like with our mini-van, trying the same thing over and over again will not yield different results. We need to ask for help, to phone a friend, to appeal to God, to work with each other to find a different solution to help us to move forward. Of course, this also means that we must be willing to trust others and God to help us. It also means that we have to stop blaming one another and or our “system” and focus on a solution, a way forward. It takes courage to admit that we need help and even more courage and faith to ask for it.
But often when we do this, we discover new things and new ways to do things and most of all we find a way to get ourselves “unstuck”. While I do believe that our denomination will get “unstuck” eventually, my hope and prayer is that we will stop fighting with one another and instead call the tow truck and get ourselves up the hill. Not for our sakes alone, or even for the sake of our particular church, but for the sake of The Kingdom. May it be so.