John, the husband of a dear friend, is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Robbed of much of his memory and most of his strength, this once sharp, active man spends his time frustrated and dozing in front of the television. He has been cautioned many times not to get up (much less walk) on his own.
To make life easier for both John and his wife, my friend has given him a bell. When he needs assistance or wants to get up, all he has to do is ring the bell and his wife will come to his aid.
Just ring the bell.
On a recent visit, I joked that most men wait their entire lives for an invitation to ring a bell and have their wives come running!
But he doesn’t like to ring the bell. He prefers to try to do things on his own. Often, he falls.
It reminds me of myself. How often do I neglect to “ring the bell” – to ask Jesus for help. He’s always there, waiting to assist, guide and direct. But like many, I neglect – or just forget – to ask.
In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus tells us: “‘Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.’” (CSB)
We need to “ring the bell.”
Just as John needs to ring the bell for assistance, we need to “ring the bell,” to “‘ask…seek…and knock’” for guidance, direction and help from the Lord.
Ringing the bell should be a constant activity. Scripture tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV), to be in constant conversation with God. Our Father yearns to be included in our decision making, wants our hearts and minds to be open to His loving direction and guidance even about small concerns.
We won’t always receive what we request. What loving parent gives their child everything he or she asks for? Cookies are great, but cookies before dinner can rob a child of the appetite needed to consume nutritious food.
I don’t know if John will ever appreciate the blessing of the bell, the gift that comes from the humble choice of asking, seeking and knocking. But I hope that, with His help, I will embrace the kindness of His 24/7 invitation to “ring the bell.”
(C) Debbie Lowe, Life Lessons from the Living Word, 2022