Discerning the Human Need

THOSE who desire to minister to humanity's need sometimes find it helpful to consider a problem from the standpoint of the patient. One must see the unreality of suffering in order to help the sufferer, but while mentally holding to the absolute truth, it is necessary to deal sympathetically with the human need.

It is related in Mark's Gospel that after Jesus had raised from death the little daughter of Jairus, he "commanded that something should be given her to eat." In the midst of their awe and wonder at having their child restored to them, the father and mother were lovingly reminded of the practical human need "that something should be given her to eat." And again, when the multitude followed him into the wilderness, Jesus said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat;" and although the material supply seemed inadequate, he was able through spiritual understanding to meet their human need. While he was on the cross he thought of his mother's need; and he said to the disciple whom he loved, "Behold thy mother!" And we read that "from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."

Mrs. Eddy writes in the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pp. 365, 366), "The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the dear Father's loving-kindness." Sometimes a patient's thought may be so disturbed by fear, anxiety, worry, that apparently he is unable to gain any sense of peace or patience until some human need is met. There may be a need for physical rest, a need for companionship, for food, for release from pain. How helpful it is to a patient to have order restored around him, for often his need may be to feel that he is being thus taken care of! There are many differing human needs, and one can serve best when he goes to a patient with the humble desire to meet his need, whatever it may be.

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The Compound Idea, Man
April 30, 1932

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