At times we humans really are a funny lot. So many times in life we get ourselves into trouble and then struggle to have the humility to ask someone for help.
We often find ourselves in a hole – we thrash around in the poor light of our pit until our hand discovers something strong, convenient and maybe even a little shiny. We are sure that what we have found is the answer, so we take this strong, convenient and slightly shiny thing and we start to use it to get us out of the hole we are in. Unfortunately very often that thing we are sure is strong, convenient and maybe a little shiny is in fact nothing less than a shovel. And so in the pit we start to dig, absolutely convinced that if we bend our back, apply ourselves and give our all it will only be a matter of time before we can dig our way out of the hole. But of course all that the digging produces is a deeper hole in the ground that threatens to bury us.
“He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.” Psalm 7: 15
We see this in economics, when the prevailing wisdom to economies slowing under the weight of debt is for governments to borrow more.
We see this in relationships, when a young man convinces himself that through sacrifice, service and persistence he can win back that girl – when in reality his efforts simply drive her further away.
We see this in business, when a man will stay in denial, convinced he can trade his way out of trouble – when in fact his debts simply continue to rise.
We see this in international relationships, when even the 'left' convinces itself that for 'humanitarian reasons' the bombs can (surgically) be released – but when the genie of militarism is released she rarely obeys and is incredibly hard to get back in the bottle.
We see this in a man’s stubbornness to consult a map when he is lost, as he convinces himself that around the next corner will be a street he knows – while all the time he gets more and more lost.
We see this in a woman, whose obsession with body image and control drives her to eat so little that the beauty she once had is literally starved of its vigour and threatens destruction.
We see this in a person of any age addicted to drugs, alcohol, work, fame, popularity or even children, who cannot see that their need can in time destroy them if they don’t get help.
And ultimately we see this in the greatest human folly of all, when in our pit of rebellion we shake our fists at God and say we don’t need him, convinced that we can dig our way out of our spiritual hole.
Importantly, we are wrong if we complain that God doesn’t help or that He is absent altogether, for while we are digging we don’t even notice the rope and ladder that God has provided.
We need the humility to stop digging and look up.