“As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.” Matthew 27:32. NIV.
After almost 2 years, I moved my home office from our kitchen table to the basement. I had cleaned up most of my files and supplies and walked them down the basement stairs. I had almost finished the job and was loading up the mobile office chair I was using to walk down to the basement. Tracy, seeing my last load, suggested that I enlist my eldest son to carry the chair down to the basement office. With chair in hand, I responded with a grunt that I was fine and proceeded down the stairs.
Of course, as I was walking down the stairs, my foot slipped and I fell down the steps to the landing. During the collapse, I dropped the chair and broke the wheels off the bottom rendering it useless. Luckily, I did not injure anything but my pride.
I am probably a throw-back. I rarely ask for help. If I can do something, I generally do it myself. I guess witnessing my father and my grandfather’s look so independent, I fancy myself the same way. My wife, by suggesting I enlist my son to help, offended my self-reliance. Of course, with a bum knee, it was probably a safer call to let my eldest finish the task. I would guess that most of us feel the same way. It’s the fabled “American Spirit” of self- reliance. Many times, this thinking leads us to a fall like mine or even worse.
During the Holy Week, my family decided to read the Easter story from the Bible. The above quoted verse stuck with me. Most times, this verse is used to teach us that an opportunity to serve Christ and God can appear out of nowhere. But this year, I started thinking: why would they make Simon carry the cross? It appealed to me in a different way but I just couldn’t put a finger on it. That is, until I answered my own question about that verse: JESUS NEEDED HELP.
Let me say it again, Jesus needed help. Our Lord and Savior was beaten and tortured. He was weak and malnourished. There was no way he would have made the trip to Golgotha carrying a cross. (If you are curious about how far of a trek that would be, ask Tracy and she’ll tell you. Better yet, come to the break-out session on June 5, 2022, to discuss going there yourself in 2024!) He needed help and God provided it to him. Jesus, the strongest, most perfect man, and son of God, needed help.
I did a bit more ruminating on this subject. Simon is carrying the cross in three out of the four books of the Gospel. Why would three out of the four gospels have Simon’s role in the crucifixion almost word for word? Obviously, God wants us to know it is ok for us to need help, too.
All of us have times of difficulty. Some of us may have financial problems, some of us may have physical problems or illness, and some of us are dealing with emotional and or psychological issues. We often tackle these issues by ourselves with our independent spirit and do not ask for help. We feel that asking for help signifies weakness. The good news is that Jesus understands. Jesus needed help and received the help he needed to complete his mission. If Jesus can need help and receive help, who are we to reject the notion that we are too good for help?
I hope you join me in working on realizing that as a part of our spiritual journey, we are going to need help. I have good news: Jesus needed help, too! It is ok to accept this help so we can continue forward in our spiritual journey.