The Needing

One night a few months ago I sat down with the little man to say prayers before he went to bed, and after some end-of-the-day observations – including but not limited to a declaration of the deliciousness of a Zaxby’s Nibbler as well as the mad survival skillz of Bear Grylls – he bowed his head.

“Lord,” he began, “thank you for this good day. Thank you for our family.” He continued with some specific requests, and right before he ended his prayer, he said, “we pray for Sharon and Wilter, and God, we pray for the needing.”

At that point I almost put my hand over his and said, “Oh, buddy – I think you meant needy, not needing.”

But before I could lift so much as a finger, it hit me: he’s exactly right.

After we finished praying, I walked out of A’s room with tears in my eyes. He had no idea, of course, but he’d given me the words to articulate something that had been weighing heavy in my head and on my heart:

This world is full of needing.

And that needing? It overwhelms.

We’re surrounded by people who are needing; they need comfort, they need healing, they need helping, they need peace. In the last week I’ve talked with friends who are struggling in their jobs, in their marriages, and in their families (it’s not like I’ve been sitting on a bench and holding a sign that says, “TELL ME YOUR PROBLEMS,” by the way – this is just real-life stuff that comes up in conversations). Today, in fact, I visited with a friend who’s facing a long-term illness. And the needing certainly isn’t confined to other people; we’ve been fighting a few unexpected battles in my own family lately. I know all too well that as much as you remind yourself of John 16:33, John 14:27, Romans 8:28, and countless other passages – as much as you rest in the Truth – the needing can still be discouraging. It can wear you slap out if you let it.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about God’s sweetness to us in those seasons of needing. Maybe it’s a phone call at just the right time; maybe it’s a divine appointment with someone who has experienced similar circumstances. If we pay attention, we’ll see evidence that not only is God with us – He is for us. He’s writing a story way bigger than any of our circumstances, and He’s using the needing for our good and for His great glory. Scripture makes that very clear (and oh have mercy do I ever cling to that assurance sometimes).

This week in Tanzania the Compassion bloggers have witnessed the needing in ways they probably never imagined. I love that Compassion provides a way that we can stand in the gap for families and connect them to a local church that will help meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. They will hear the Gospel. Many of them will come to know the Lord. And when they walk through an unexpected time of needing – above and beyond their day-to-day challenges – they’ll have a local body of believers who will walk with them and pray for them. If not for Compassion, they might never know that kind of comfort. They might never know that kind of community.

As for us – the folks in the land of high-speed Internet, air conditioning, and telephones that act as our personal assistants (though I should probably point out that, as best I can tell, Siri does not speak Southern) – life looks a little bit different, at least on the surface. We live in a land of indulgence and convenience, and sometimes our struggles stem from impatience as much as anything else. But at the end of the day, our deep-down needing is what connects us to our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, to men and women we’ve never met, to mothers and fathers who, like us, lose sleep over sick children, who worry about making ends meet, who hurt when relationships fracture.

I don’t know how to say this in a way that’s particularly eloquent, so I’ll just say it like I hear it in my heart: let’s tend to the needing today. Maybe that means we’ll encourage somebody we love. Maybe that means we’ll sponsor a child who lives thousands of miles away. Maybe that means we’ll take time to intercede for somebody who shares a prayer request. Maybe that means we’ll mend some fences.

But this much I know for sure: the needing is all around us, sweet friends.

Let’s love each other well.

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  1. Lori H says:

    Thanks for this post! The Tanzania trip is the second that I have followed and they really bring it to you, I must say. The needing is overwhelming and it’s good to remind ourselves of the One who can address it best.

  2. Uh huh. Yes ma’am!

  3. Susan says:

    Out of the mouths of babes……and what a sweet prayer from the lips of a sweet boy. I’ve never commented on your blog before, Sophie, but I read you faithfully. Your words delight and bless me, and I admire your positive outlook on life in general. You’re doing a great job raising A to be a godly young man. Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. I love you.

  5. Amen and Amen.

  6. andrea says:

    tears and an amen!

  7. This…”But at the end of the day, our deep-down needing is what connects us to our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, to men and women we’ve never met, to mothers and fathers who, like us, lose sleep over sick children, who worry about making ends meet, who hurt when relationships fracture.”…was it! So true, so well put. Thank you.

  8. Merri Jo says:

    One of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. Ever! So timely as I’m finishing up leading a small group study on Hebrews. Your words of wisdom exemplify what becomes part of our character as we fix our eyes on Jesus. I’m in awe that your gift for writing encompasses poignancy of eternal value as well as an unparalleled sense of humor!
    You are a light, indeed!

  9. Leigh says:

    Best. Post. Ever.

    And this:

    >>>I know all too well that as much as you remind yourself of John 16:33, John 14:27, Romans 8:28, and countless other passages – as much as you rest in the Truth – the needing can still be discouraging. It can wear you slap out if you let it.


    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about God’s sweetness to us in those seasons of needing. <<<

    When my husband died last year, I entered a season of needing for sure. There was discouragement; there were times I teetered on being "worn slap out".


    Early on in that season God gave Isaiah 58:11 as a promise to me:

    " I will always show you where to go; I will give you a full life in the emptiest of places" The Message

    And I testify here today that He has been faithful to keep that promise-what Sophie calls God's sweetness to us in the season of needing. I could write volumes of His sweetness to me. And much of it has been manifested in the love and care shown me by people who were willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus to me.

    Thanks, Sophie, of reminding me to be aware of the needing of others.

  10. Yes.

  11. Oh. My. This spoke to my heart. The needing does overwhelm sometimes. Everyone has something…But if there is no “needing”, God goes un-needed, you know? In those needs, we see that only God can fulfill.Thanks so much for such a wonderful post (and the comments are marvelous also!) God is at work, my friends!

  12. Your words are so, so true. Just yesterday we found out that friends from church — amazing, Godly people who are wonderful parents — lost one of their teenagers to depression and suicide. They’re hearts are broken, and they are praying that God will make anything good out of this tragedy . . . please pray for them.

  13. Oh, BooMama…I would love to link back to you and post about this. It’s been one of those “needing” times for me, and when I read your post, it flipped a switch in my head. Yes. I am needing. I am needing God and love and support and help and prayers and a little compassion. I’m needing a chance to mourn and cry and hurt and I wonder how many other people are needing the same thing?

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (I’m now sitting at my desk at school trying not to cry before the kids come in. But my allergies are so bad, I’m not sure they’d see the difference on my face.)

  14. What a great post! Sounds like a great article for Home Life!

    Thanks for my humbling for the day.

  15. Your writing is simply beautiful. This is exactly what I needed to hear.

  16. Amen. Now that is sweet fellowship amongst even us “virtual” friends. Thank you sweet Sophie! And Praise YOU Sweet Jesus!

  17. Oh, Sophie…

    Perfect. Just perfect.

  18. Beautiful post. I love your heart….and your little mans :)

    And at this crazy time of year with end of the school year nonsense, I find I needed the reminder desperatley.
    Lord, help me pay attention to what matters!

    thank you

  19. Once again………a little child shall lead us! Thanks for reminding me that the needing are all around me as I trudge through life in my own little bubble! I’ll be more willing to share a kind word or action with others because we may never know of the need in the person walking beside us on this journey.

  20. Oh. Oh my. Oh yes. I am so mad at Satan right now for needing he’s stirring up right in my very own neighborhood. Praying harder than ever that God meets them, even if it involves my very own participation!

  21. I love this sweet post, your little boy is just the cutest. And thank you for the encouragement and reminder this morning!

  22. Margaret says:

    What a lovely post. So well written and so true. Looking forward to that book!

  23. You have a way with words, my friend. I’m so sorry there is unexpected stuff going on around you.

    The posts this week from the compassion bloggers have really spoken to me. We were considering sponsoring a child recently after compassion day at our church, and didn’t. So yesterday we picked out little Beatrice in TZ and completed the process to adopt her and sponsor her through Compassion. We are so excited!!

  24. AMEN!

  25. Carolyn says:

    Ditto with the AMEN!! Such a good word!

  26. Oh my….and we are all needing in so many ways.
    What sweet prayers and an awesome reminder!

  27. I hear you on this. Have been praying for folks while nursing and some morning I just feel so heavy with the weight of others. A good word, friend.

  28. Sophie- thank you for this. Such a wonderful reminder at
    the perfect time.

  29. Such a lovely post. Thank you for the reminder and hug that boy extra big today!

  30. A little child shall lead them… thank you for this.

  31. Oh, the promptings of a sweet child’s heart….love this!

  32. Beautifully said. Thank you.

  33. This post shot straight to the heart. It was so well put. And you’re gift shared with us “Internets” causes a little less needing so often. What a sweet Word to be put into your little man’s heart and transferred onto his mama’s blog. Thank You Lord for the gift of Boomama’s writing!

    (And now I know there IS a book coming! YAY!!!!)

  34. The needing…quite a word!! Beautiful post!

  35. Just beautiful. Simply beautiful. Everyone needs something. We all have needs, we all have pain. It just comes in different packages. I suffer from an auto-immune disease that very little is known about about. Treatments are few and I’ve been through them all. I’m in constant pain and my body is so weak. I also lost my mother just 7 weeks ago very unexpectedly. For now, my lot is to suffer much. The greatest things folks have done for me … things that have helped me the most is just being with me, sending me handwritten notes in the mail, praying with me and for me. There is no greater comfort than to know people are carrying you to Jesus and laying you at the foot of the cross. I have been at the end of myself the past few weeks. I’ve been at the point I didn’t know how I was going to take my next breath, much less my next step. But I’ve learned that’s exactly where Jesus wants me. At the end of myself. It’s then I realize how much I truly need Him, and I run falling on my face at the foot of the cross where grace and mercy meet. His strength shines the greatest in my weakest moments.

    Encourage those who need Jesus. Love them by being with them, call them, mail cards to them, cook them a meal, hold them while they cry … be the hands and feet of Jesus. Pray for them. If you don’t know what to pray for … the Holy Spirit does.

    Beautiful post. Thank you for taking the time to write down you thoughts … and for hearing your son’s heart.

  36. Oh Sophie – thank you so much for speaking straight from God’s heart to mine today and please don’t ever stop! I’ve recently been diagnosed with an incurable illness that has turned my world rather upside down in “the needing” – this spoke the truth in love to me again that it’s not about me yet all about Jesus and I’m still able to help many others “needing” what I can give in the sweet love of Christ even if it’s different from how I’m used to helping…new life is always fresh and sweet…

  37. Dear Sophie, This is powerful, and brought me to tears as I realized what God has done, and continues to do in my life and in the hearts of the needing. Thank you for speaking Jesus to us today. And by the way – this is no Rambling. You need to revise the tag :o)
    This is powerful, life-giving stuff. Bless you.

  38. Beautifully put.

  39. Beautiful. XOXO

  40. Karen T says:

    Love this!

  41. Melissa S. says:

    Out of the mouth of babes. Sometimes God speaks to us through children, we just have to listen.

    Now that we have been shown to care for the “needing”, let’s all get about our Father’s business and do just that.


  42. I. Love. Scandal!!! haven’t heard anyone else watching it so I’m glad to know there’s at least one other fan.

  43. Sarah I. says:

    Beautifully put! I know we live in the equivalent of the Promised Land compared to so much of the world, but it doesn’t make us immune to pain and suffering – of a different nature than that in a third-world country, of course, but valid nonetheless. Thank you for the reminder to “tend to the needing” in my own life – because there are so many who are needing!

  44. I never post, and really just happened to randomly click on your blog today. It hit me square between the eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your heart like this, it was just what I needed to encourage me to take action – it’s so easy to become lazy and immune to the suffering in our own cities, much less around the world.
    Thank you!