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Thu, Oct. 17

Faith Column: Remember: In order to receive, you must first of all ask

Indeed, the Lord loves a cheerful giver. What about a cheerful "asker"? I have discovered that a cheerful asker often elicits cheerful giving.

Even before illness struck, I found it difficult to verbalize my needs, probably out of fear of rejection or of inciting anger or dislike in those I would ask for help. I'm sure a sense of unworthiness also accompanied my shyness about making my needs known, but too often pride stepped in to leave me stranded.

When an innocent victim of my own unwillingness to ask for help clearly and directly failed to come through, self-pity and resentment promptly showed up to put a dent in the relationship and destroy my peace. Getting angry with someone for not meeting my unexpressed needs constitutes an act of unkindness on my part.

God knows my every need, but people don't. God gave us one another. If I need a ride to the doctor, I'd better well ask for it if I expect it to happen. Or, if I require assistance with grocery shopping or personal care, it serves me best to speak up. Oh, yes, an angel could appear at my front door, complete with a bright, shiny stretch limousine, but I find that God seems to delight in the courageous articulation of my need to another of His children, thus bearing witness to His grace. Cheerfully asking for help where it is truly needed hardly suggests weakness. On the contrary, it is a clear statement of our God-given strength.

Is there something for which I need a helping hand today?

Shall I cheerfully ask for the help?

Can I accept being told, "No"?

Do I know that a "no" answer does not constitute personal rejection?

Shall I move on in prayer? Maybe God has a better idea.

Dear God, I pray for the courage to speak out - in humility, not humiliation - and to ask for what I need from others. I pray to keep my requests reasonable, and to ask for only that which I cannot do for myself. Please help me to remember, always, that when people cannot meet my needs, you can and will, in your perfect manner and time.

Adapted from "Out of the Desert, Softly" by Dianne Finnegan Wilson. You may email Ms. Wilson by visiting www.pensepublishing.com.

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