I had just spent the past two hours snow blowing and shoveling after a January storm had dumped five inches of wet, heavy snow.
When I was done, I decided to check how the roads were and drive my truck to a local grocery store that had a postal box in which I would place an outgoing letter.
On my way back to my house, I noticed an older woman, who I estimated was in her eighties, shoveling the wet, heavy snow from her very long and large driveway. Since I didn’t have a shovel, I drove past her house and continued on my way home.
At home, my conscience got the best of me as I continued to think about that woman. So, I loaded up a couple of shovels in the back of the truck and headed out to her house six blocks away.
When I arrived, I grabbed one of the shovels and started to walk to her house.
“What do you think that you are doing?” she asked me.
“I’m going to help you shovel your driveway.” I told her as I continued to walk up her driveway.
“No, you’re not!” she said as she stood her ground blocking me from coming further.
“I’m not going to charge you,” I explained. “I want to do it for free!”
“Why?” she further inquired.
I told her that I had just shoveled and snow blowed my house and explained how heavy the snow was. I wanted to do something nice.
“Well I don’t need your help!” she said harshly.
“I can do it all by myself! I have a snow blower and if I thought it was too hard to do, I would use that. Or else I would call my son and ask him to come over. No thank you, I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP!”
I turned around, walked towards my truck, placed the shovel in the back, and then drove home and helped a neighbor get shoveled out as I pondered the encounter with the older woman a short time before.
I pondered further…why would anyone turn down help when someone offers to help?
I wasn’t offended, but I found it strange that she would be so harsh in her rejection of my offer to help her. Why would someone turn down help; especially when it is free?
I had been gracious, accommodating, and generous. I had just spent several hours and really didn't need "one-more-thing-to-do". I saw her and came to her with all that she would need to get the job done. I was planning on having her take a break so that I could shovel the whole driveway by myself.
I was offering because I understood what she was going through. I had just walked (metaphorically) in her boots. I knew the weight that she was carrying. I knew how much pain she was (potentially) going through.
I finished the shoveling at my neighbor's and decided to get the snowblower out to make the alley wider so that cars could get through easier.
While using the snowblower, a neighbor from up the block walked over to where I was working and asked me if he could pay me to shovel his sidewalk when he goes out of town for the month of February. I told him that I would be happy to take care of it for him.
He asked me what I would charge and I told him that I would be happy to just take care of it for free. He was insistent and said that he would stop by before he left on his trip to see his daughter. Although he was very strong, he knew that he needed my help (because he was going to be 1500 miles away) and was willing to pay for it.
After he left, I pondered some more...about how so many times people turn down help from the Lord even though He is reaching out and offering His help. He isn't charging for His help; in fact He already paid the ultimate price with His death, burial, and resurrection.
Why would anyone turn down help from the Lord when He offers to help us? He, too, walked "in our boots". He, too, knows the weight of what we carry. He, too knows the pain we go through.
God doesn't help those who help themselves. Instead:
He asks us to seek Him:
"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord..." (Jeremiah 29:13-14a)
He asks us to call to Him:
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3)
He asks us to come to Him:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)
He asks us to rest in Him:
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. (Psalm 37:7a)
He cares deeply about what we are going through and longs to help us:
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
I put the snowblower away and went inside grateful for how the Lord continues to call out to me even when I choose to try it on my own first. Grateful that He doesn't turn me away when I come back to Him and ask for His help, after realizing how much I need Him.
Grateful that I have a Savior who is sympathetic with my weakness and my need for help:
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)
All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.