Christ was divine, a strong visionary leader, a healer of others… we really don’t think of Him as needing help. But there, in the painfully dark night at the Garden of Gethsemane, he asks his friends, “watch with me.” Christ demonstrates that it’s okay to ask for help. If the Savior was allowed to be so vulnerable and admit to needing support, so can we. In fact, if we are truly going to follow the Savior’s example, in our most vulnerable moments, we must ask for such help.
Asking for help is an art. I like what we learn from Christ’s example:
1st He picks specific friends. He doesn’t throw out a generic and vague request hoping someone notices and takes the bait, he targets 3 friends by name and asks them, specifically.
2nd He doesn’t limit his request by his friends limits. Sometimes we are so concerned about burdening others that we deny ourselves, and them, the chance to pitch in. Christ knows his disciples are tired, but he needs them to stay awake, so he requests it.
3rd His requests are very specific. Come here with me. Sit here. Stay awake. Pray. Watch. He gives his friends very concrete ways they can help him as he undergoes this emotional trial. He takes responsibility to clearly identify what he needs and ask for it directly, rather than make passive hints or expect others to magically intuit.
4th And when they slip up and fall asleep or stop giving him what he needs, he asks them again and again. He doesn’t say “You’re not giving me what I need so it means I should be embarrassed for having asked,” or, shamingly, “I never should have asked you.” He keeps asking for help until the circumstances change and the thing he was asking for is no longer needed. And then, he responds in a compassionate way that acknowledges they did the best they could.
5th He receives the unexpected help that does come. Although he asked for friends to help, they fell asleep. Although He asked God to be with Him, God seemed to have left the scene. He pled for this cup to be taken away, but that was not to be. But… even though we don’t see Him request this, Heavenly angels do come and minister to Him. It’s not what He asked for, but He does receive their help. When help comes to us in unexpected ways do we similarly recognize and receive it or do we reject it because it’s not what we’d wanted?