Premature Funerals: Knowing When to Ask for Help

I once heard more men are admitted to hospitals with heart attack symptoms on December 26th than any other day of the year. Why? According to one theory, these men start experiencing typical symptoms the day before they show up in emergency rooms. But because they don’t want to inconvenience family members and “ruin Christmas,” they suffer in silence when they should be seeking help. Let’s be clear. Ignoring the warning signs of a potentially fatal episode isn’t noble, it’s foolhardy.


This is not a new syndrome. Look at how the writer of 2 Chronicles describes Asa, a king who died before he had to. “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to his physicians. So he died in the forty-first year of his reign. He was buried in the tomb he had carved out for himself in the City of David.”


Asa experienced God. He heard God speak to him directly. But when God confronts Asa for putting more stock in his military allies than God’ power, Asa starts sulking. And when he falls ill, even though he realizes his condition is serious, Asa won’t turn to God for help. 


When he faced a military crisis, he walked past God to a neighboring army for help.
When he faces a medical crisis, he does the same thing. He’s too proud to pray, so he puts his hope is his doctors, alone. (It doesn’t say it was wrong to consult physicians; his mistake is only consulting his physicians. And, in the process, cutting God out the loop.)


The writer here is brutally frank. He says “[Asa] did not seek the Lord’s help… so he died.” The implication, of course, is that if he had looked to God for help, he would not have died, at least not so soon. Apparently, there was an elaborate funeral, complete with a large fire and a regal burial in an intricately carved tomb. 


But here’s the tough question, If Asa had spent as much time looking to God as he did preparing for his memorial service and final resting place, how might his story have ended?

Are you stuck? Where are you looking for help? Human expertise? Human wisdom or power? Or are you finally ready to acknowledge the places you’ve looked for help aren’t working? And, now that the crisis is serious, are you ready to seek the Lord’s help?


Craig Custance