While visiting my family for Thanksgiving, the family dog started whimpering at me. His deep brown eyes begged to go outside. I grabbed the phone and the dog leash and headed out to walk.
On the way back, I noticed a big German Shepherd leading around a tiny teenage girl, growling. Usually another dog would bark or maybe sniff at our dog. This dog leapt to attack our Schnauzer. I pivoted away, only to feel teeth tear into my flesh.
I fell into the middle of the road. My body shook from sobbing, tears blurring my eyes. I cradled my foot in shock. A lovely older couple driving by stopped to help. They had me take off my shoe and sock. I howled harder when I saw the bleeding hole. The husband took my dog and I back to my family while his wife called the police. I was embarrassed to be witnessed crying, but thankful that God sent them.
We rushed to urgent care where they worked me in immediately. A doctor knit my wound closed with seven tight stitches. While not ideal, I was thankful it wasn’t worse. It would eventually heal and didn’t require surgery.
Although I spent Thanksgiving vacation hobbling around the house with a cane, I figured I could manage without help at the airport. Bad idea. I had to check my bag at the gate because the flight was too full. I started pulling my hair at the thought of picking up my luggage later.
Fortunately, the airline employee offered to order a wheel chair upon arrival to take me to the baggage claim. My pride wanted to stick it out, but I knew I couldn’t. The man who brought my wheel chair was a friendly Jamaican whose light banter eased my pain. God knew what I needed.
Countless times I have needed help over the last month. My typical mode is to help others. It feels good to assist people. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Following Christ’s example as a servant lets me feel useful.
However, as much as I want to help others, sometimes I need to receive help. When I don’t let others help me, or when I ridicule myself as weak, the root problem is my pride. James 4:6 says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” When I refuse help or try to push through on the own, I am not being humble. I don’t want God to resist me because I resisted help. The same way that I feel good serving others, people like helping me. I am denying them of joy when I try to do everything myself. Receiving help squashes my pride and builds humility.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” Some seasons, I can give. Others, God slows me down so I don’t get too big for my own shoes. Instead, He keeps me humble by showering His mercy on me through the hands and faces of those around me. It strikes me as ironic that this happened the day before Thanksgiving. Though the dog bite was unpleasant, I am thankful for the joy in learning to receive help.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.