Clara has been sick for the past few days and there haven’t been many times in my life when I’ve felt more helpless than I do right now. Clara doesn’t have an ear infection or the flu; she just has the common cold. Her nose is runny, she’s sneezing, she’s coughing and her eyes are constantly watering. She’s not sleeping that well and she has a hard time ever getting truly settled.
I feel so helpless. I can’t explain to her that she has a cold and just needs to persevere through it. I also can’t tell her to blow her nose, so her nose is raw because we’re constantly having to wipe it. She’s still been a really good baby through all of this, but I would do anything to take her cold from her, even if it meant I had to constantly wipe my nose. I’ve already got her snot on my shirt, what would be the harm in a little of mine?
So because I want to feel better about my helplessness, here are some Bible characters who also felt a little helpless.
Has anyone ever felt more helpless than Jonah? Perhaps Pinocchio and Gepetto? Jonah’s story is one of the saddest in the Bible because he never learns his lesson. Even when he was helpless, sitting inside the sticking belly of a great fish, God showed him mercy. Yet, standing outside Nineveh, Jonah couldn’t understand why God would extend mercy to that city. If I had been in as helpless a situation as Jonah and was miraculously rescued from it, I hope that I would have a better attitude. Also I would hope to take a shower very quickly. How bad did Jonah smell when he got vomited up on that beach?
Widow at Zarephath
I have more compassion for the widow at Zarephath than I do for Jonah. Jonah got himself into his own mess and didn’t learn anything from his mistakes. The widow and her son were on death’s doorstep because her husband had died and there was a drought. The widow was so helpless that she tells Elijah that her plans for the day are to go home, eat a small meal with her son and then die. I’ve never felt that helpless; even in my most difficult seasons I could always find some Chick-fil-A or In-N-Out. In the middle of her helplessness, though, and most dire situation, God showed up and provided for her. She didn’t have a Double-Double, but she did have enough food to feed her family.
Paralytic on the Mat
The story from Mark 2 of the paralyzed man who was forgiven and healed is one of my favorites. I have heard/read that story countless times from when I was in Sunday school. Each time I marvel at the commitment of the friends, the helplessness of the man and the compassion of Jesus. That man felt helpless in a world that didn’t cater to the needs of the disabled. There were no handicap donkey spaces and no ramps up to the market. This man would have been completely dependent on the kindness of others. Again, in the midst of his helplessness, Jesus combined kindness, compassion and power to completely transform that man’s life.
Even though I feel totally helpless when it comes to Clara’s cold, I have been constantly praying for her. I know it’s within God’s character and power to heal Clara, so that’s what I have been asking God to do. No matter how helpless we feel, God is always there for us. He was there in the belly of a great fish, he was there when the oil and flour had run out, and he was there in that overcrowded house. He is here for us as well.
What do you do when you feel helpless?