Ask for help

It was fairly early on in my Royal Naval career, my first complement job as a Petty Officer, Weapons Engineer. I was on a type 42 Destroyer, and I was the maintainer for the main computer system that drove the Weapons system and the Operations Room. It was 1983 and we were deployed down to the Falklands, still enforcing the exclusion zone, so lots of sea time and the kit was being worked very hard. There was a Chief in charge of the section with me. It was fairly old agricultural equipment, all the radar screens were of course Cathode Ray Tubes (like in your old telly before flat screens came along).

There had been a recurring problem on one of the radar displays with all the data information (track numbers etc) constantly jumping up and down on the screen. We had stripped it down, changed all sorts of bits but to no avail. It was still duff. We had virtually given up and were going to ask for assistance from shore-side authorities. Me and the Chief went to see the Weapons Engineering Officer (WEO) to tell him that decision. But, out of the blue Chief says to the WEO ‘Fixed it Sir’. I was taken aback, and WEO asks what it was … Chief says ‘There is a hole in the Cathode Ray Tube and the cooling fans are blowing the data around the screen’. I am waiting for WEO to rip off said Chiefs head, but instead says ‘Great, can you show me?’ Off we go to the Operations Room .. data still jumping, Chief pulls out fan drawer and data stops jumping. Drawer back, data jumps, drawer out, data stops. ‘Excellent work team’ says WEO and goes back to his tea and biccies … leaving us two flabbergasted staring at the display in disbelief. (Turns out it was all to do with broken down insulation and induced voltages etc …).

Trying to live a live based around faith in God can be a bit like that .. you have an issue in your life that you just can’t sort out, it may be some habit that you can’t break (porn, alcohol, debt issues, etc) and you are afraid of what others are gonna think of you if you admit it. But there comes a point where you have to go and ask for assistance, open up and be honest that you are not going to be able to deal with it on your own. In our case the problem had already been shared between two of us, but we became aware that it was outside our combined knowledge and we needed someone with more experience to help us sort it out. So if your oppo asks for some help with an issue or problem, and you feel its getting out of your comfort zone don’t be afraid to take it further .. don’t be too stubborn or proud !

Of course as a Christian I believe that I can take these issues to God by praying (talking!) to him, and that he will help me. I truly believe that and have experienced some amazing answers to prayers. But sometimes it helps to talk to someone else about it as well as God …

But I wouldn’t advise being like my old Chief and come up with some ridiculous idea to help sort out your mates problem .. in 99% of cases it don’t work like that, but asking for help does … and especially when you talk to God about it. In the early days of the Church they were all working together to help out with life in general. It was likened to a body, where everyone has a role and without the others it don’t work properly. I certainly knew that when working at sea, and part of that was knowing when to open up and admit I didn’t know it all. Jesus taught a bit about the importance of taking stuff to God in prayer …

Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”
Mark Ch 11 v 22-25 (The Message).

Until next time …

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Image Credit: Matt Hardy