Those Who Need You

When I was a little girl, my dad always ended his prayers in the same way. There was petition for our loved ones “wherever they may be,” a plea for presence, and then, “please be with those who need you in a special way.”

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I suppose it’s terrible of me to admit this, but I always felt that the final line about unknown persons in “special need” of God’s presence was an odd one. Aren’t we all in special need? And isn’t God with us anyway? It felt like a throwaway line, something that smacked of tradition without emotion, the staid lines of an unoriginal religion.

I don’t feel that way anymore. This past week I experienced firsthand a community in crisis. The sort of gut wrenching, split your heart at the seams crisis that leaves you forever changed. I cried a lot. I slept a little. And I learned some hard lessons about community, and about those who need you in a special way.

A few weeks ago I blogged about community. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about and wrestling with for a long time now. And I’ve come to the realization that true community is even bigger than I thought it was. The rings of community ripple out from the middle in ever-changing circles, and though I’ve often believed that the only group that matters is the centermost, I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

From the person who stands at the heart of it all and wraps loving arms around those who mourn, to the stranger across the country (the world?) who says a heartfelt prayer, we are all a part of the circle. Our attempts to reach out, to bridge the divide and hold a hurting hand, matter. Don’t think for a second that your prayers go unheard. Or that you are not needed because the crisis or the community is not yours. Yes, it is.

We pray, “Lord, be with those who need you.” And I believe he answers: “You be with those who need me.” It’s what he created you for. To be hands and feet. To be family to those who need you.

I’m praying for you today, wherever you may be.

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