I think I mentioned in the comments section of my previous post that I was having a little problem with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services regarding unemployment benefits. For those of you that didn't read the comment, since I was working for a school in a teaching capacity, the standard procedure appears to be to deny benefits to any applicant because they're probably just "between terms" and not really unemployed. Since the school discontinued the day class I was teaching and created three newly structured evening classes to take it's place (and advertised for potential instructors to send in resumes), it's pretty apparent to me that getting to teach any of the new classes isn't going to be a slam-dunk. In my opinion I was unemployed until I signed a new contract with the school. I appealed the state's determination and got news early last week that they agree...I'm eligible for benefits.
While it's a relief to know that I will at least have a small income to help with the bills for a while longer, I also have this guilty feeling. I know that I legitimately deserve the benefits, the state agrees I deserve them and, as far as I know, very few people would deny that I deserve them. But the idea of taking any kind of public assistance makes me uncomfortable. There's this nagging itch in my brain that keeps saying "You shouldn't be taking that money. It isn't really yours. Other people need it more than you do. You can make it on your own!."
There is a popular Internet website that posts animated cartoons called Homestar Runner. Some of you may know of it. One of the minor characters is a one-legged puppy called "Li'l Brudder." The dogged* determination of the character saying "I can make it on my own!" as it pushes itself along with it's one hind leg points out the absurdity of people who refuse to accept help when they desperately need it. A dog with one leg clearly needs help getting around. So I guess I feel a little like that little pup...I want to say "I can make it on my own!" But obviously I need that unemployment check to help make the ends meet until I find a job.
After I got over the major portion of the guilt feelings about this whole thing, I got to thinking that we can be just like Li'l Brudder in our spiritual lives as well. We want to say "I can make it on my own! I don't need any help. Let me make my own decisions, let me blaze my own trail!" Yet most of us realize doing it alone isn't the way life works. We need help getting through it. And we certainly aren't going to make our way to Heaven on our own stubborn-headed initiative. Anyone that denies that is just fooling themselves, dragging along like a one-legged puppy. Thankfully, getting help is just a prayer away. God can pick us up like that crippled pup and carry us wherever we need to go, but we have to ask for His help and be willing to accept it when it is offered, under His conditions.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but on the outside chance that you don't already know what those conditions are, a little Bible study is in order. Acts 2:38 for starters, after that try John 14:6. To put it in a nutshell you must believe, repent, confess and be baptized for the remission of sins. Those are just the basics, there's a lot more than that to being a Christian, but that's enough to get you started.
Well, so much for the deep philosophy this time, keep prayin' for me and my family. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.
*Pun intended :)