When most people think of the apostle Paul, they have an image of someone who needed no one nor anything. That is not a fair view of this great man, and portrays an unrealistic view of Christian ministers in general.
Regardless of how great the man or woman of God, everyone requires the assistance of others during the tough times in life.
No one is able to get by the really difficult times without help.
Our Lord stated that the cross was the most difficult challenge of His career among us. When He went to Gethsemane with the eleven apostles to wait the betrayal, He asked them to watch and pray with Him.
Matthew 26:36-38 (NIV) "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.'"
Our Lord never asked for help, and now He confessed that the situation was killing Him. So everyone—even Jesus—can take comfort and gain strength when people attend to us in our times of unusual stress and sorrow.
Paul used several wonderful terms to describe how useful Epaphroditus was to him in his difficulties. Do you have someone like this to turn to for help in your times of suffering?
Perhaps you can enlist the help of your spouse, a kind neighbour, a close relative, your boss at work, a religious advisor, your family doctor, or a professional counsellor. Whoever it is, you need a kind person who has your best interests at heart to step in and help shoulder the burden you bear.
It is not a sign of weakness when you get help with problems in life. Rather, it demonstrates real wisdom when a person speaks up and asks for help when the burden is too much to bear.
I urge you to look around and see who the Lord has placed in your way to help. Of course, the Lord is always near those who are struggling in life, but be wise like Paul and recognize that others are there because of the Lord's mercy and can give great help in our times of need.