In my book, “Jonah: Beyond the Whale,” I provide an in-depth examination of one of the shorter books in the Bible. While we are all familiar with Jonah’s story, there are still several parts to reflect on. One example is when a large fish swallowed Jonah for three days and nights.
Many scholars believe that this part is not literal. Whether it’s symbolism or not, there is no doubt that it took a while for Jonah to ask God for help. While it’s great that he could seek assistance during a tumultuous time, it was still unfortunate that it took a while to ask. Perhaps he had a reason why he didn’t ask sooner; we may never know whether it was his fear, shame, pride, or guilt.
Whatever the case, he is not alone in that aspect. Many of us are even guilty of failing to ask for help for various reasons, including the feelings I just listed. When you think about it, how many of us ask for help the minute someone offers it to us? How many of us can freely admit we aren’t capable of doing specific tasks because we are riddling with self-doubt?
With that in mind, it’s important to stress that asking for help is never wrong. Suppose you are struggling with issues like a task at work; you need to finish it on time, but you don’t know where to start. Fortunately, a colleague has offered to help you so you can reach your deadline. Still, instead of being grateful and taking the opportunity, you declined their help—not wanting to bother them—while also missing your deadline. Looking back, don’t you think it would’ve been better to have just worked together in the first place?
It can be challenging to admit that you are struggling in an area that many people can effortlessly handle. If that is the case, please don’t be too hard on yourself. Neither of us is as omnipotent as God, so we must learn to seek help and offer help in return.
When we do this, we not only foster stronger connections but also lighten the burdens on our load. In short, asking for help starts with admitting that we need each other and God.
by Chad Groen