In one of his many books, Russell wrote about a father who watched through the kitchen window as his small son attempted to lift a large stone out of his sandbox. The story unfolds in this manner…
The boy was frustrated as he wrestled with the heavy object because he just couldn’t get enough leverage to lift it over the side. Finally the boy gave up and sat down dejectedly on the edge of the sandbox with his head in his hands.
The father went outside and asked, “What’s wrong, Son? Can’t you lift that rock out?”
“No, sir,” the boy said, “I can’t do it.”
“Have you used all the strength that’s available to you?” the father asked.
“Yes, sir,” the boy replied.
“No, you haven’t,” the father said. “You haven’t asked me to help you.”
Ballard then adds these thoughts: “I wonder how many of us can identify with that little boy when it comes to dealing with life’s difficulties? We try everything within our power to deal with the situation; but we can’t quite muster up enough strength to remove the burden. We end up tired, frustrated, and beaten to the point of giving up. The whole time we are grappling with our situation God is waiting for us to ask Him for His help”.
In the New Testament, the Apostle James understood this point well. After having admonished his readers thusly, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” in chapter 4, verses 2-3 (NIV), he puts forth the following question and corresponding answer in chapter 5, verse 13: “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.”
The Apostle James certainly knew his Bible. In 5:17, he went on to refer to the power of prayer as seen in the life of Elijah the Prophet, who was human in all respects like us, yet stopped the heavens from raining for three and a half years through a prayer of faith, and then induced them to resume raining with another one.
For my part, I wonder if James perhaps also had in mind the experience that Joshua had at Jericho in the eponymous Old Testament Book of Joshua, chapters 5 and 6.
Under cover of night, Joshua had slipped away from the camp of the invading Israelites and drawn near to the double walled city of Jericho. As he was pondering the inability of his ragtag group of soldiers to take the city, God appeared to Him and gave him the answer. Thereafter, in accordance with God’s explicit instructions, “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho” exactly as God had instructed him.
As a result, the double-walled city fell; and the Israelites were victorious in the first of many battles they were to fight in their struggle to conquer and possess the Land of Promise.
So, then, what are you struggling with today? What obstacle stands in your way? Remember, there is no job too big for our Heavenly Father! So, why not use all the strength that is available to you? Why not ask Him to help?! Joshua was glad he did. So was the little boy in Bob Russell’s story. Very likely, you’ll be very glad you did as well!
NOTE: Bob Russell’s own website is: http://www.bobrussell.org/.