Summary: When our needs are real, we want genuine answers, not just appeasements. Look to self-esteem, look to the resources already present, and look to the Lord of victory for real answers.
When you need something, and you ask for it, what do you expect? Do you expect an answer or an appeasement? Do you expect a clear-cut, usable answer to your request, or are you satisfied if you are just told, well, have a nice day? When you need something, and you ask for it, which really satisfies you: an answer, or an appeasement?
Answers give you what you really need. Appeasements just make you feel good at the moment, without solving anything.
The other day I called our bank. Margaret and I are planning a trip to Europe, and I wanted to arrange for our finances. Somewhere I had read that it is no longer necessary to carry a lot of cash or to convert dollars into foreign currency, because you can get money from Automatic Teller Machines over there. But I wanted to be sure, so I called the bank. I asked the service representative, "Can I use my ATM card in Germany?" And she said, "You can use your card at any of our banks anywhere." Hmm. Any of our banks anywhere. Does that mean you have bank branches in Germany, and, if you do, are there a good many of them? Will I be able to find one when I need it? "I don’t have that information, sir." Well, all right, I figured I had other ways to find that out, so then I asked, "Can the card be used in the branches of other banks that might be in one of the networks; bottom line, can I get Deutschmarks on my card?" The response was, "They haven’t sent us that information yet, sir. But I’m sure you’ll be all right; I hope you have a great trip!" Now, let me ask you: did I get an answer or an appeasement? Am I now a happy camper who can confidently run off to Germany with $10 in his pocket and a piece of plastic in his fist? I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think I got an appeasement, not a real answer.
When you need something, and you ask for it, what do you expect? Do you expect an answer or an appeasement? Do you expect a clear-cut, usable answer to your request, or are you satisfied if you are just told, well, have a great trip?
This week the shoe was on the other foot. One of you called me and asked for information on how to deal with an Alzheimer’s patient. Was there anything I could share about nursing homes, assisted living, support groups, and the like? Did I have any way to help? Well, now, what did this person want? Hard answers or sympathy? Real, solid information, or oozy, unctuous soft nothings? Well, since I didn’t have very much information, I was very tempted to go into my spiritual act. “Oh, you poor thing, how tough it must be for you! Oh, you poor thing, let me just sit here and listen to you." There is always the lure of trying to make someone feel as though you’ve helped, when in fact all you did was to apply a Band-Aid. But people deserve to be helped, really helped, not just made to feel good at the moment. People want answers, not appeasement.
By the way, I did come up with some information by the end of the week!
The people of Israel had been well served by Joshua as he led them up from the wilderness wanderings and the foot of Mt. Nebo, where Moses had died. Town after town had been taken, king after king defeated.