Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Asking for Help

After bicycling 300 miles in the prior four days on TheHopeLIne Tour of 2014, Debbie and I took a rest day. The following morning, we couldn’t wait to hop on I-90 to begin another day’s adventure. We’d discovered afternoons in Wyoming could bring lively thunderstorms, so an early start might help avoid trouble. Once we had oiled the chains, we were about to leave when suddenly I heard:

“Hey, Mister!”

I looked around and saw two boys approaching us, one of whom was walking a bicycle. As an elementary school teacher, Debbie estimated them to be fourth graders. The boy walking the bicycle had gotten himself into a pickle. He was carrying a cloth shopping bag with one bottle of water in it. The bag and bottle were caught in the front brake assembly of the bicycle.

“Can you get this bottle out for us?” he said with a tinge of panic in his voice.

I had never seen anything like it before. The water bottle was stuck fast against the rim and brake pad. No matter how hard they had tried, the boys weren’t able to pull it out.

I applied some token pressure to see what it might take to loosen the bottle, but it wasn’t going to come out without some brute force. Then came Plan B. I reached into the bag, unscrewed the bottle cap, and let some water out. Immediately, the bottle came free, and the bag came with it.

From my vantage point, however, we had a larger problem on our hands. The pressure from the water bottle plus the boys yanking on the bottle had misaligned the brake. One of its pads was rubbing against the wheel rim.

Now, I was panicking! Even though Debbie and I have cycled more than 10,000 miles across America, I’m not a good mechanic.

“Do you know anyone who knows how to fix bikes?” I asked.

“Our neighbor can help us with this. At least I can ride it now. Thanks for your help.”

I quickly deferred the repair job to this person I had never met before. I knew better than to trust my mechanical skills with a brake adjustment on someone else’s bicycle.

Everyone brings something unique to life. Each of us has skills that others lack. Eventually, all of us will encounter a problem that we cannot resolve on our own.

Responsibility and self-sufficiency are worthy traits, but God never meant for us to handle our burdens alone. Galatians 6:2 ESV says, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Yet no one can come to another person’s aid unless the person in need is willing to ask for and accept help.

Asking for help requires humility. We’re acknowledging that someone else is either more capable or in a better position than we are to solve our problem. James 4:10 NKJV offers a promise that makes it easier to ask for help: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Later that day, Debbie and I got ourselves into a pickle! A flat tire on the interstate cost us an hour. After lunch and a phone call, we faced a travel dilemma. We could try to beat the ominous clouds headed our way or wait out the storm.

We decided to go for it. Twenty miles later, adrenaline helped us race for safety amid lightning bolts and driving rain. We made it to a small town, stopped at a convenience store, and asked for help. A kind person came to our aid by offering us indefinite shelter from the storm.

Adapted from Wheels of Wisdom: Life Lessons for the Restless Spirit © 2016 Timothy G Bishop and Deborah L Bishop. Used by permission.

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