Who Among Us Is Crying Out for Help? (2 Samuel 23:15)
By: Cara Meredith
My children are not afraid to ask for what they need at any given moment. Water! Scrambled eggs! Lotion! A snack! While many of their requests revolve around food (and usually involve a “please” and “thank you,” if we’re lucky), sometimes I have to chuckle: Why can’t I be more like them and ask for what I need too?
Too often, we adults forgot to ask for what we need – not from our spouses and our partners, not from our friends and our roommates, not from our co-workers and our neighbors.
Prayer, of course, can be a different story: some of us remember to petition our wants and needs before God when something feels particularly pressing, or when the pastor on the front of the stage (or over the screen on Zoom), reminds us to be sure to present our requests to God. Some of us, on the other hand, can’t not square up with the Lord of Hosts on a regular basis: we skin our knees with the stuff of prayer. We make real the words, “I’ll pray for you.”
I always wish I could be found in the latter camp, but alas, I find myself going back to the children among us, to the little ones who aren’t afraid to make known their requests. Perhaps it would do all of us (myself most of all) a bit of good to tune our ears to their example as well.
Recently, I saw this while reading through an obscure Old Testament passage – if you haven’t already, go read 2 Samuel 23:13-17b. Had David recently been in the company of small children, I wondered, when he shouted, “O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” (v. 15). Although the scene was set in battle (and not in a palace, among throngs of servants), David wasn’t afraid to ask the men around him for a cup of water. He had no problem broadcasting his needs to the humans within his reach.
I can’t help but wonder if it’s any different for us, not in our own houses, our neighborhoods, our places of work and our churches. Who among us is crying out for help, already making clear their needs? Who among us isn’t crying out, but clearly needs someone to notice that they’re hurting, to simply ask, “How can I help?” Sometimes it’s not even a matter of asking, but it’s a matter of noticing and simply doing: we drop off a meal. We mail a postcard. We pick up the phone and dial their number, just because.
Perhaps the invitation for all of us is to start to listen, not only for the needs of those who are right there in the trenches with us but also to ourselves.
Because when we listen, we start to notice, just a little more. And when we notice, well, that’s when the doing – of extra batches of enchiladas, as well as skinned knees in prayer – actually starts to happen and maybe, even, make a difference.
Cara Meredith is a freelance writer and the author of The Color of Life. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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