My New Favorite Four-Letter Word
There’s power in words.
How they’re wielded. How they’re withheld. How they can heal or harm.
The words we use matter.
I’ve used words to defend myself, accuse others, instill fear, and a myriad of other things. I’ve also used words to encourage, build-up, and express love.
In fact, I make my living with my words.
Recently, I’ve been getting familiar with a four-letter word that I’d rather not know:
That’s not my new favorite four-letter word mind you, but, more on that later.
Pain is a word that most of us hate to think about. We avoid it like the plague or for those of us in the modern era, like COVID-19.
Pain comes in various forms such as physical, mental, and spiritual. We’re all accustomed to pain. Since the day we were born, we’ve experienced the ramifications of the fall in the form of sin. The sins that we commit against others and ourselves and those sins committed against us.
Inherently, we are born to experience pain. I hate it. You hate it. But that’s the human narrative. At times, we feel some relief from this word we long to put aside, but then it rears its ugly head once again to our dismay.
When that happens and the pain comes in all its forms, what should or can we do?
That leads me to my new favorite four-letter word. It’s a word that we learn as toddlers, and for some reason, many of us shun it as we get older and more “mature.” But to be honest, this is a word we should always have in our vocabulary, especially when we use it with relation to Christ.
It sounds elementary, but calling out for help seems to be one of life’s most difficult things to do, especially when we’re struggling with very deep and personal issues.
Help comes in different forms. Many times, we feel uneasy asking for help from professionals (i.e. counselors, therapists), our relatives, friends, or even the church. We’re more apt to go at it alone than reach out to others in our greatest time of need and neglect to ask for help, especially from the One who has the power to rescue us.
You’re probably thinking. “Really? As a Christian, you’re barely learning to call on Jesus for help in your time of need?” Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
Often times, I forget that there’s someone bigger, stronger, and more real than the person sitting next to me, who actually cares about my circumstances more than I can fathom, especially when my back is up against the wall, and there’s no other name I can call on for help.
I didn’t know how much H.E.L.P. I needed until the depth of P.A.I.N. I experienced.
These four-letter words are directly correlated. I don’t ask for help without first experiencing pain and conversely, I can’t overcome pain without asking for help.
You know who else called out for help in his greatest time of pain?
Jesus, while he was in the garden of Gethsemane in Luke 22:41–44.
He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them [the disciples], knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
The greatest model of not feeling ashamed to use my new favorite word, is the Creator himself.
Sometimes, when I’m talking with people and don’t know what to say, I just say to myself: HELP!
When I’m in a situation and I don’t know what to do, I sometimes say audibly to the Creator, HELP!
And when tears are falling and I can’t seem to lift my head due to shame and sorrow, I whisper, h.e.l.p.
In this season of my life, I’m usually in a tenuous situation and that four-letter word is, more often than not, my prayer, because quite frankly, I don’t know what else to say or ask for.
Now, I’d be lying if I’d say that every time I’ve done this, an answer is provided or a bolt of intuition is granted to my feeble mind, but maybe that’s not the purpose of calling out for help. Maybe, the lesson I’m learning is the mere fact, that by doing so, causes me to both humble myself and acknowledge that there’s One greater than me who can be called upon in my life’s darkest moments.
Yes, there have been times recently, where I’ve called to Him for help in the midst of my pain, and within minutes a friend calls to reassure me or some wild circumstance occurs that I don’t think otherwise would have occurred without my S.O.S. plea.
Right now, you might be in a season of pain. It hurts, it’s not fun, whether you caused it yourself or as a result of another person, whatever the circumstances and wherever you’re at, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Of course, ask Jesus to aid you, but don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask a counselor, a friend, a relative or church staff to help you work through your pain and suffering.
And when you do, perhaps this will give birth to a new favorite four-letter word that each of us needs and longs for: H.O.P.E.