Just Ask

Luke 11:9-10 – So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)

When I was twelve years old, my mother took a nervous breakdown in front of me. We were sitting in the living room, and she just started going crazy, throwing things around her, breaking ornaments and other items, cursing loudly, and shouting swear words that I had never heard her use before. It was a traumatic event for my youngest brother and me, who were the only two witnesses. It was also the beginning of decades of mental illness that saw her in and out of locked hospital wards for many months each year.

My dad, as well as my siblings, did not know what to do. It felt shameful to us, and we worried about catching the same thing. We didn't ask for help, and we didn't share it with anyone outside of our extended family and the most trustworthy of neighbours. We carried our burdens individually within our own hearts and minds, didn't talk much about it, and just sought to survive the whole experience.

When I look back on those tragic events now, I wish that we had asked for help, good counsel, and guidance. We were so fiercely independent and stubbornly proud, which caused us to become locked in the past and unable to truly cope with my mom's illness. In my case, I ended up as an alcoholic and survived an overdose only because of the quick intervention of dear friends. I now believe that if our family had all been properly counselled and had learned to trust skilled professionals, my life, as well as those of my siblings, would have been addiction-free.

I think that this is why Jesus tells His followers to ask God for help. We tend to use today's highlighted verses as a positive opportunity to get what we want. However, I now think that it's much more than that: Jesus is telling us to ask God for what we really need: help, healing, and direction. Christ is saying to us that God can unlock the door to our future health and happiness, just by asking for help. It's a wonderful promise, which can become a channel of deep and profound blessing in our lives.

Wherever you are today and whatever you are going through, please don't carry your burdens alone. In my opinion and experience, churches are safe places full of good people with compassionate hearts and professional skills that can make a great difference in the healing of our lives. All we have to do is simply to ask for what help we truly need.

Points to ponder: What issues am I currently facing? What burdens am I still carrying? Am I willing to ask Christ for help? Am I ready to ask someone I can trust for support and guidance?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, too often, we think that we are strong, don't need help, and can deal with our own issues. Enable us to stop disabling ourselves by instead reaching out to others who can offer us patience and help, understanding and compassion. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    Thank you for sharing.


    Excellent devotional today John. Thank you!


    Thanks for your honesty and the challenging application.


    Thank you, John, for sharing this painful experience. Praise God that you found Him and found help with loving friends.


    You are a grand example, John, of a positive outcome from a difficult situation. You had help but you were also receptive to the help.


    John, thank you for your timely devotional. We always appreciate your wisdom and insight and I can very much relate to today’s devotional.


    John, thank you for sharing your painful family history with us. Your witness to God’s faithfulness in those dark days shines through. Blessings.


    Thank you for sharing your important story, John. I am sure it will help many to remember to reach out to God and those around them. God bless!


    Thanks for sharing your story today, John. I’m sure it will touch many hearts today as it has mine. May all who need to seek His help, “Just Ask”. Blessings.


    Thank you for sharing your deeply personal story to help us see that God intends us to ask not only for surface kinds of help, but very personal and private kinds of help that we are too proud to share.


    Dear John Stuart,
    Thank you for writing so openly about such a matter. Your telling can help many people who have gone through or are now going through some very hard times.


    Wow, John; what vulnerability!
    Better yet, pointing to positive ways to “ask.”
    Thanks (I’ve got my own “stuff” going on right now).
    (CA)


    Hello John,
    So sorry to read of the pain and suffering you experienced in early life and endured without outside help. Knowing that our loving God is ever present to listen to our prayers and give comfort and peace in our times of stress certainly lifts our burdens. Blessings for sharing this writing.
    (B.C.)


    Wow! That’s all too often the way people deal with trouble – by keeping it hidden and assuming that they need to just put up and keep it quiet. Praise God that you found the Lord (I know, He got hold of you you). Thanks be to God, that you have even been willing to share your experience so that others may learn to call for help and may expect the Lord to enter into challenging situations. Bless you for this.


    I grew up in a family where my father became an alcoholic and my mother was deeply ashamed.
    She never told anyone. In those days if anything was wrong in a marriage it was the wife’s fault.
    As I grew up, I moved past this, but the scars are there. Took me a long time to get over being an over-achiever because I did not want to be a “failure” like them.
    I am sure you know about those ACA things. I think I was “the hero”.
    I am sure you have helped many today.


    Hello John Stuart
    I’ve missed your devotionals and hope you are keeping well as we all get older!
    Your topics always hit a chord with me at exactly the right time – – my daughter has been through a near-death experience, alcohol related, and we are very thankful for a positive outcome so far. The power of prayer in action again.
    Please keep writing!


    My oh MY, how healing and helpful your words are for me today, John. I read your devotional several times over with tears in my eyes. How true it is and how much it has already begun to help me (and will reach out to everyone who reads it in the same way, I believe). There is no doubt of God’s inspiration in you telling this hard truth looking back in your life. To me your writing completely embodies the reason we write these devotionals. This is unforgettable. My prayers for you today as a fellow addict, through God’s grace, made whole.


    Dear John,
    That is heartbreaking. I can relate too. My father became mentally ill when I was a child. He was verbally and physically abusive to my mom and older siblings. Yet, he loved Jesus. So, our home was marked with crazy Christianity. Even so, God brought me through. But all of us siblings were terribly affected.
    I wonder if counseling and meds could have helped. But back then, it seems in the 50s and 60s, there wasn’t as much awareness of mental health as there is today.
    God bless you and your family.


    Dear John:
    I thank you for sharing your story. I, too, was raised in a family where we were taught not to tell anyone anything outside the walls of our home. I paid the price for this as you did.
    I find it heartbreaking that this still continues today. Most of my friends were raised this way and I believe are still afraid of trusting others.
    I am now a prayer warrior and I lift these people to our Lord in prayer every day that He will bless them with all that they need.
    Again, I thank you for your words of wisdom and may you be blessed greatly for telling them.


    Hello John. Thank you so much for sharing your family’s experience with mental illness and the impact it had on your lives. I know the shame and silence and the reluctance to ask for help given the stigma and lack of support, understanding, and acceptance in our communities. I am so glad that you are an overcomer and that your faith has made you whole again. Your devotion is a powerful reminder of the need to reach out to people living with a mental illness and their families, offer assistance, and listen and respond when they ask for help. I have seen mental illness referred to as the “no casserole” disease because church members often don’t come alongside in the same way that they do for people with physical illnesses. I think your devotional today will help to change those attitudes.
    Thank you again.
    (BC)


    Hi John.
    I have noticed from some of your devotionals that you have quite a past. So good to see the change that God brought in your life.
    Blessings.


    Years ago, people did not talk about mental illness.
    I believe things are better now in many places.
    Thank you for sharing.


    Dear John Stuart,
    Thank you for writing so openly about such a matter. Your telling can help many people who have gone through, or are now going through, some very hard times.
    “God cares to the utmost,” must be our message to those suffering.
    And we pray, “Lord God please use us to take compassionate help to those suffering from lack of it.
    Keep writing.


    Wow John, what a powerful message.
    A year and a half ago, I had a kidney transplant. Praise be to God.
    The transplant was successful, but I spiraled into a deep depression, side effects of the myriad of immuno-suppressant drugs I take to protect the kidney.
    Despite the depth of my depression. I kept telling myself that God did not give me a kidney for me to want to die. I set my pride aside and went to my family doctor to see if he could help me.
    I was so severely depressed that he put me on meds for anxiety. As they took effect, I began to feel much better, stable, and even confident. I have come to realize that this has followed me my whole life. Today I feel wonderful, better than I ever expected. I wish I had had the courage to do something about this earlier in life.
    Praise be to God for turning things around.
    Thank you for sharing.
    God’s blessings.