We are a lacrosse family. Ryan’s a former player who coached high school for a long time and now coaches our first grader. The games I watch these days may not be as exciting, but they are much cuter. There’s a phrase you will hear when watching lacrosse. It’s the equivalent of “I’m open!” in soccer. But in lacrosse, the player says, “(Person’s name) here’s your help!” This happens when a player has the ball, but gets in a tight spot. There are defenders keeping them from moving forward and they need to pass. Another player will move to get open, call out the other player’s name, and offer help. From there, hopefully, the “helper player” can take a shot or pass to someone else.
Have I lost you? Hopefully you’re still with me. Because there’s a lot we can learn from this basic lacrosse play. There are people we love who are in a tight spot right now. They have defenders all around them and they cannot see how to get out. We are called to be their help, but what does that look like?
1. Use your feet. As I was thinking about this metaphor, Ryan let me know a common mistake for young players is to simply say, “Here’s your help” but they’re not actually in a position to help. You have to use your feet to get in the right place. These are our "good intentions". You read a cry for help from a friend on social media. Another friend texts you something that sounds like a joke, but it also sounds like they’re hurting. You hear a friend lost a loved one or got a bad diagnosis. In these situations, we have two choices. Tell the person you care, or show them you care. But here’s the thing, showing them you care takes being in a position to actually help. You have to have some time in your schedule. You may have to cancel something less important. You may have to spend some money. That’s what it looks like when you “use your feet” to offer help.
2. Make it personal. Notice players are supposed to call, “(person’s name) here’s your help!” If you’re on the lacrosse field and people are closing in on you, there’s a lot to take in. Hearing your name makes it easier to focus on the one offering help. Isn’t this what our heavenly Father does? He pursues us in a deeply personal way. Love your friend that way. It will mean so much more than empty words.
3. Share the burden. They had the ball and it was precious, but they were in a situation where they couldn’t keep it safe anymore. Offering help gives them a place to keep the ball until they can be in a position take it back. One of the coolest lacrosse plays is when someone offers help. The original player gets free and the ball is returned for shot. The helper player carries the burden for a little while, but the original player gets the glory. We should do that. Don’t help a friend out so you can humble brag about it later. Help a friend so you can brag on them later. Brag to others about how they were in a tough situation and they came through it. If you do this right, your friend may see God in a way she never has before.
So there you have it. Wisdom from a game we love. The next time you see a cry for help on social media and everyone chimes in with, “I’m praying for you!” but you feel like God is nudging you to do more, you may be the answer to those prayers. Don’t hesitate to say, “Here’s your help!”