In the story our verse is taken from, we see Jesus helping His friends in a wonderful way. He helped them to catch an incredible amount of fish, and, through this miracle, He was setting them up to start thinking about their real destiny in God: to become fishers of men. In the midst of this process Simon Peter suddenly realised that Jesus was not just any man, but someone very special and powerful. Simon Peter became acutely aware of his own shortcomings and his sinfulness. Being in Jesus’ presence seemed to be too much to handle for Him. Reading the Gospel account one can easily imagine the emotion in his exclamation: “Go away from me, Lord”!
Sometimes help is hard to handle. This fact was highlighted to me just recently when I watched an upset little boy with his Lego. His construction had broken and he couldn’t get it back together again. He was so upset! As he was crying, two other children sweetly came up to him and offered their help.
His response was not very nice at all! He yelled at them angrily to go away, and he grew only more upset. It seemed to me he was really angry with himself and with the situation, but he took it out on those around him, in particular on those who wanted to help.
How much can we ourselves be like this? God is an ever-present helper, with a heart to come alongside us in the midst of our struggles. He is also very likely to bring people alongside us to support, strengthen and help. But how do we respond?
We may have many objections to accepting help. Perhaps we feel ashamed of our failures. Perhaps we have an understanding that we’re meant to do it all ourselves. Perhaps we have allowed others to help us at some other time, and it’s been a negative experience.
Perhaps we’ve started feeling sorry for ourselves, and we’ve stopped truly wanting help. Perhaps we are a bit like that little boy, and we have simply become too angry to allow anyone close. There really are many reasons for refusing help, which might make sense to us, in our mind.
Isn’t it sad though, to watch someone suffer, when you’re wanting to help them? God is clear. He’s a helper, and He rejoices when we accept the help He makes available to us.
Godly people, also, are very much the same. Think of this: when we allow others to help, we give them cause for rejoicing. This is neither wrong nor selfish, but actually life-giving to all involved! And when we allow God to help us, we bring our heavenly Father joy!
Prayer: Heavenly Dad, I’m sorry for the ways I’ve wrongly refused help from You, and from others. Please help me with accepting help, when I find this difficult! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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