“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy.” Psalm 116
Honestly admitting need is, for me, a unique event. I reserve it for only very special occasions – like when I am about to drown.
This actually happened once. I was 25, caught in a rip tide at the Outer Banks. I was separated from my friends. No one near me, except for three teen-aged boys, who happened to be surfing. The current was pulling me away from them – another few seconds and they wouldn’t have heard me. Still I hesitated, kicked a few more times, thinking I could make it. I swallowed more water and only then managed a weak cry. I lost sight of the surfers. But on the next swell, one of them turned his head. I waved my hand and he glided, as if with wings, over to me.
Yes, I am here today, these many years later, because on that hot summer afternoon, I called out for help.
But notice the way I phrased that last sentence: “I am here, because I called out for help.” The sentence is true, but not the whole truth. Not the best truth. Yes, if I had remained proud and refused to call out, I would have drowned. But calling for help is no good unless there is someone there who turns their head and comes for you.
So allow me to re-write that sentence: ‘I am here today, because someone heard and helped me.’ Now there is a real sentence! True and rich. That sentence gets under the whole human situation.
1) The true human situation is that you cannot make it on your own. This is a fact – like the fact that I cannot breathe under water. But you don’t experience ‘need’ as a fact – you experience it more as a ‘weakness’ – something you should be ashamed of. And this sense of shame is so strong that you would almost rather drown than admit it.
2) The true human situation is that you are not alone. You don’t experience this as a reality either. You often feel alone. And then you very much act like you’re alone – until the reality of some need forces you to call out. When I was sinking my need for air broke through my denial and I looked for help. The young surfer had been there all along, but I didn’t really see him until I needed him.
3) The true human situation is that we are loved. You can’t experience love while actively denying your need for love. But like the surfer, God is ready to turn His face toward you, glide over on wings of grace and rescue.
Because God loves me, I am here today.
Because God loves me, I am here.
Because God loves, I am.
Roger Edwards joined The Barnabas Center in 1991. In addition to counseling individuals & couples, Roger teaches & leads discussion groups about applying the Bible to everyday life. He is a licensed professional counselor, holds a master’s degree in biblical counseling from Grace Theological Seminary in Indiana & earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from UNCC. He is married to Jean, and they have seven children.