Stranded on the Side of Helplessness


I was stranded in the parking lot of a grocery store. I had made it that far, but couldn’t make it any further with a piece of glass in my Buick LeSabre’s poor little tire. In my helplessness, I called my husband who was back home waiting for me to return with our dinner’s ingredients. I was terrible at meal-planning back then.

I’m not sure I ever feel as clueless as when I have a car issue. I know next to nothing about automobile operation. I finally did learn how to put gas in my car after relying on my Daddy to do that job for my first year or so of license ownership. Yeah, I was spoiled.

I haven’t driven since we moved out of the US, and the thought of taking my driving exam upon our return to America puts me into a slight panic. I wonder if I’ll get my license, and if I do, if I’ll experience a blowout on the side of the road in the middle of an Ohio winter again.


I’m either going to continue to depend on my husband to drive me everywhere still, or I am gonna put on my big girl pants and take my driving test. And then actually drive and, hopefully, avoid any collisions or issues. But if/when these things happen, I’ll have to call my husband to come rescue me just like I used to do. I’m sure he will love that.

When reaching out to lost and hurting people, I often find myself in a similar state of helplessness (especially in my second language). I’ve applied all the knowledge I possess, approached problems from every angle and exhausted myself in my efforts. I realize that I am not the most qualified person for the task, and I have to seek support.


I first ask God for wisdom and discretion when sharing my faith or providing Biblical counsel. I beg for boldness and clarity of thought and speech that I may be able to recall Scripture and maneuver my way around the Word. But that’s not quite what I’m talking about here.

There are times I have to refer the person that has come to me to someone else. This has happened more times than I can count. Sometimes the problems are bigger than me. Sometimes my knowledge is limited, or my perspective is skewed by issues I am grappling with myself.

I may just not have the answers that are needed, and I realize all I am offering is confusion and misunderstanding. This isn’t fair to a person that is seeking truth. I share the Word, I pray for and with them, and I leave the issue in God’s hands. Often that is enough, but sometimes it’s not.

Occasionally, a person needs immediate counsel. There are desperate situations for which I am not qualified or emotionally stable enough to show up. In ministry, this often means I pass the situation along to my husband or to a more experienced woman in ministry. If I am made aware of an issue involving a man or a marriage that needs attention, I will direct these issues to their pastor or other male mentor.


Initially, the person may be offended that I don’t want to deal with the problem. That I don’t have time or that I don’t care enough about their spiritual condition to sit down with them and wade through all of the muck and mire of sin and pain. This fear keeps me from putting them where they can really receive help, however, and it ultimately hurts them.

In humility, I set aside my personal interest and investment for the benefit of the lost or hurting person. I set them up with someone who is skilled and informed and may objectively and effectively provide counsel.

It hurts my pride to think that I am not always the best person for the job, but there are times I’m just not. When my knowledge and abilities fail to meet the heart needs of those whom I claim to love and want to see live for Christ, I have to let my control go.

I live the Golden Rule in ministry and missional living by letting God make change through His word and by asking for help when my ability to teach and train or care and counsel just isn’t enough.

There’s no reason to be stuck, and stranded when there’s someone ready and willing to offer help if only I would put aside my pride to ask for it.

Are you stuck trying to provide assistance in a situation for which you are not qualified?
Do you need to make a desperate call for help for the benefit of another?

Talk to me in the comment section!



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