Often when asked, “What may I do to help you?” most people are hesitant. “Oh, nothing, really,” they say. “I’m fine.” (Perhaps they aren’t sure themselves, can’t make a decision, or don’t want to inconvenience you.) So we need to make an educated guess about what a person’s needs might be. It is helpful to imagine oneself in the person’s shoes and then ask yourself, “What kind of help and caring would I need and appreciate if I were in her or his situation?”
Then, just do it!
Here are some examples of anticipating needs:
- My friend was in the hospital recovering from prostate cancer surgery. It was fall and his yard was blanketed with leaves. His son- in-law, knowing that the patient would worry and fuss about this unfinished job, raked all the leaves and carried them away. When the patient returned from the hospital his yard was leafless. What a gift!
- Lynn waited all night for news of her boyfriend, Craig, who was the pilot of a missing emergency medical helicopter. When search teams found the wreckage and Lynn’s worst fears were confirmed, she headed to the telephone and called her best friend, Susy. “Do you want me to come?” Susy asked. Lynn said, “I told her, it’s not necessary—I’ll be okay.” Susy lived so far away; I didn’t want to inconvenience her. I didn’t realize how desperately I would need her when the shock wore off. Thank God she came.
(above content from: The Compassionate Congregation, Faith Alive
Anticipate the person’s needs, and then just do it! Chuck Swindoll emphasizes this point when he says, “When you are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness, that’s when a friend comes through. You don’t even have to ask. When you’ve got a friend like this, he knows you’re hungry. He knows you’re thirsty. He knows you’re weary. The beautiful thing about sheltering friends is that they don’t have to be told what to do. . .the practical stuff. They just do it. This is faith in action.”