When Your Helping Hand Can’t Reach Far Enough

Hand reachingTwo men were lost and on foot in a blizzard in northern Michigan this week. One was my friend’s grandson. She was here in Minnesota, clinging to ever bit of news as it arrived throughout the day.

A young lady in London, broke, out of work and evicted from her apartment, stumbles across my blog looking for hope, wondering why her plea’s for God’s help seem to go unanswered.

I love being able to give an encouraging word or a helping hand to another person. There is nothing more satisfying than to know you have helped lighten the load of someone else.

There are times, like these two situations this week, when what I have to offer seems inconsequential in relation to the enormity of the situation another person is facing. In spite of all the help I’ve given to others in various times and situations, I am faced with the reality of my own limitations.

It is humbling.

It reminds me of Jeff Goins’ free ebook, “Wrecked for the Ordinary,” where he talks about handing out blankets to the homeless and instead of feeling satisfied at what you’ve given out, you feel broken and grieved over your limited supply. You realize that you don’t have enough blankets for everyone and just how little you’ve really accomplished.

It is then that we have a choice.

We can try and numb ourselves to the need; try to avoid the plights of others. Or we can face the pain of our helplessness and allow it chisel away at our complacency.

And, we can pray.

We can call on a God that is limitless in his reach and his supply. We can ask him to meet the needs which are beyond our reach, while still being willing to offer what little comfort we have to those who are struggling or anxious.

Some might consider prayer a religious cop out. And, for some people, it is.

There are people who say “Prayer works,” as if prayer were some kind of magical incantation, a spell cast by the good wizard against the forces of an evil one..


Is that what prayer is? Magical words?

Perhaps it is for some. Not for me.


To me, prayer is a connection, a binding of myself with One who is infinitely great than myself, the source of all that is loving and good, the Creator who continues to create.

The two men in Michigan were rescued and came away from their 22 hours in below zero temperatures with very little harm to their bodies.

The young lady in London is still in desperate straights. Her situation has not changed.

I am confidant God has heard and is responding to my prayers for both situations.

At the same time, prayer is a two-way conversation. I listen for God’s whispers, so that I might not neglect my part in meeting each need. It doesn’t get me “off the hook.”

How do you deal with situations of overwhelming need?

Would love to hear your comments