My favorite prayer is “Help Me, Jesus!” The reason for this is that I often find myself in situations for which I have no answers, or my solutions aren’t working. I start to worry, or maybe I let myself get stressed, yielding to the lie that it’s all up to me to solve my problems. I become a Basket Case.
The dictionary defines a basket case as “a person or thing regarded as useless or unable to cope; or someone that is in a completely hopeless situation.” The Urban dictionary says a person is a basket case when she has no solution to a problem she’s given.
Do you ever feel like a basket case? Then you are in good company! We see from stories in both the Old and New Testaments that God has a special place in his heart for basket cases.
- When Moses was a baby, his parents broke the law and put him in a basket and placed it in the Nile, hoping someone would find him before the crocodiles did! I’d say that qualifies for a hopeless situation!
- When Jesus was teaching and the people following him became hungry, all they had to feed them was a boy’s lunch. Pretty impossible, wouldn’t you say?
- When Paul was a new believer in Damascus and began to preach the gospel, the Jews conspired to kill him, so watched the city gates day and night. His very life was in danger. That’s serious stuff.
But God specializes in fixing things that people think are unfixable. Basket Cases are His opportunity for miracles and wonders. When we are helpless, he loves to step in and show off a little bit, so we’ll know how much he loves and cares for us!
- What did he do for Moses? He sent Pharaoh’s daughter—an ungodly, unlikely rescuer, and she even hired Moses’ mom as his nurse.
- For the hillside of thousands of hungry people? He used a small boy, a disciple who noticed the lunch, and Jesus’ prayer of thanks to multiply the food. There were twelve large baskets left over—proof that God can take a mess and make it better than before.
- For Paul? This time he used some friends of Paul’s giving them the idea to lower Paul in the middle of the night in a huge basket in an opening in the city wall.
In every basket case, God had a different kind of plan and used different sorts of people to rescue those he loved from their seemingly impossible circumstances. He never runs out of ideas to help us and he never panics when we get in a mess, even a mess of our own making. When we’re in a basket case it doesn’t mean God is mad at us. He is not punishing us. God loves us and wants to help us. He loves us just as we are.
Perhaps right now you are in a “basket case” circumstance that seems impossible to fix. I can think of a couple in my life right now that seem overwhelming. I have a ninety-two year old Mom living at Brookstone who is nearly deaf and has Alzheimer’s. We do what we can to help her, but she often chooses not to cooperate with our help and others’ attempts to help her. We often pray my favorite prayer for help. Then we have our daughter and three teenage grandkids moving here this summer. I’m super thankful to the Lord for answering my prayer that my family moves closer. But they will have huge adjustments to make as they leave their church, friends, schools, even have to switch the musical instruments they play. That’s a big deal. How can we best help them adjust to this new life?
Those are my basket cases. You all have your own. What can we do if we’re a basket case, or in the midst of a basket case? How do we find our way out?
- We need to acknowledge our brokenness, not hide it. Only when we are honest to God can he fix our basket cases.
- We need to rehearse God’s miracles from the Bible and our own lives, to encourage ourselves in the Lord. This will build our faith up, and help us believe for the miracle we need. Think back over your life. You’ve been in many situations that you thought there was no way out of. Did God leave you in those? I’ll give you a minute to recall some of the ways God rescued you and helped you. I like to tell myself out loud how God has helped me in the past. It increases my faith. It helps me stand up on the inside, so I rise up from feelings of discouragement.
- We need to quote the Word of God aloud, especially verses and passages about God’s love and mercy. I brought along some cards I’ve made for you, with encouraging Scriptures on them. I’d love you to take a few home and read them to yourself, even out loud, whenever you feel like a basket case. God’s Word is powerful to change our circumstances and to change us.
- We need to praise and worship the Lord, to open the door for God to move and close the door on the enemy. According to Psalm 22:3, God inhabits the praises of his people. This means when we choose to thank, praise, and worship God in the midst of our problems and pickles, He shows up!
- We need to ask God to show us someone else who’s a basket case, and help them a little. A prayer, a card of encouragement, a ride to the doctor, a pie, some money. We can be someone else’s solution, or part of it, just like the disciples were part of the feeding miracle.
Take courage: God has a plan in place to get you out of your basket. Jesus tells us in Matt. 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they SHALL be comforted.” God is not going to leave you in your basket. Is Moses still in his? Is Paul still trapped behind the city gates, hoping not to be murdered? Is Jesus still on that hillside scratching his head, wondering where the meal is coming from? No, of course not. In every case, God came through to rescue his children.
God is the same God today that he was for Moses, Paul, and Jesus. And He will fight for you and help you just as he did for them. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” He hasn’t changed. He’s still all about helping and rescuing those he loves and who cry out to him in the midst of their basket cases.
Let’s pray: Father of all mercy, we love and trust you. But sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances for which we can see no way out. When we are tempted to despair, to feel like basket cases, lift us up out of our messes. Show us how to trust you more. Even show off a bit, so the world will see that you take care of your children. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.