What do you need today? I see more people with large and deep needs in 2012 than I have ever seen simultaneously in my lifetime. I also see that most people are unwilling to share these challenges with others. Sadly, this seems to be as true in the church as anywhere. So, I am prompted to ask an obvious question. Why? Is it pride? Is it because we just don’t want to bother others with our problems? Or, could it be a lack of understanding in how we are directed to behave in Scripture? Whatever the reason, I believe the answer can be summed up like this. God wants to use His people to meet the needs of people and people cannot meet needs that they do not know exist! Ok, so maybe that is not very concise but it is relatively simple. So, what next?
There is plenty of Biblical precedence for individuals making their needs known to Jesus. We see the mother of Jesus letting him know that the wine was gone at a wedding feast and, soon after, Nicodemus going to Jesus in the night to seek answers to his questions. A Samaritan woman asks Jesus for the water that will quench her thirst forever and then a military official requests healing for his son. Mary and Martha tell Jesus of their sick brother, Lazarus, because they fear he will die and Jesus does not accompany them home. In each case, a request was made known, verbally and publically, with confidence that the need could be met by Jesus. There was no guarantee as to when or how the need would be addressed and, as often is the case, the outcome was different than imagined.
Because my husband was a professional baseball player, the first 11 years of my marriage were spent in unfamiliar cities and I was often lonely. I made this known to whatever church ‘family’ I became acquainted with and I was able to receive friendship, support, and nurturing. Years later, when I injured my knee and had to walk on crutches for 2 months, a friend came to my house and picked up ALL of the family laundry. She returned it the next day washed, dried, and folded! As I write these thoughts, I am at a beautiful townhouse on Anna Maria Island because a dear friend knew I needed to have some quiet time to write. These needs were met because I was willing to open my mouth and tell someone that I needed help. This is not accomplished without becoming vulnerable and I believe that is the reason we often suffer alone!
Vulnerability is scary because we have no assurance that the outcome will be favorable. What if someone passes judgment as to why I have the need? What if they gossip or, even worse, misrepresent my circumstance to others. What if they ignore my need and simply walk away without a second look. These questions pose the very real risk we take when becoming vulnerable. However, silence means the potential of missing a two-fold blessing. First, we have the opportunity of our need being met and, thereby, experiencing God’s handiwork personally. Second, we are allowing someone else to be blessed as they respond to our need. Think about a time when you gave a much needed or desired gift to someone. Consider a birthday or Christmas celebration as you patiently waited for the opening of a gift you gave. When I have been in those situations it has brought great joy, emotional pleasure, and satisfaction. It is an unbelievable blessing to be able to help another person without any expectation of the favor being returned.
Vulnerability is worth the risk…even when pain results! I offer up these challenges for you this week. Share a personal need with a trusted friend, pastor, elder, or mentor. Then, be the one to give to someone in need. Finally, leave it all to God in prayer and look for HIS hand in the midst of the giving!