I was in a 4-H fair years ago when I realized the variety of emotion within a short distance. I will never forget the teenager who came running to his parents, dancing and swinging his grand champion ribbon. Within a few hundred feet, a girl was sobbing over her precious cow that had just been sold in an auction.

Outside the fairgrounds a siren sounded, rushing a seriously ill person to a hospital. In all of this, I thought and prayed for a variety of happenings within feet of where I was.

It bares consideration such as the following.

Somewhere a mother cries over the life of her child, and somewhere a widow weeps for the loss of her husband. Somewhere a child cries for relief from abuse and torment, and somewhere there is apprehensiveness and fear over severe illness and surgery.

Most of us would be amazed if we realized how much joy and happiness, worry and concern, and pain and heartache are present within a short radius of our home. A father worries about income to pay bills for a growing family; a spouse cries out in loneliness over separation and difficulties in what was once a thriving marriage; a young woman attempts to hide the painful scars and broken heart of another beating.

Within a short distance, there are worlds of need, as many worlds as there are people living inside the boundaries of those worlds. As much as we would like to, there is very little we can do, in most cases.

Many have the practice of saying a silent prayer when they see an active emergency vehicle, signaling danger or trouble for someone. However, there are also the “silent sirens,” those which don’t literally scream. They are heart screams which are just as alarming.

Most of us move about in our worlds, nearly oblivious to the cries within reach.

Thankfully, God is present with those in need. There is the potential to touch His heart in prayer for the unknown and He can make it known where the need is. There are many who sound sirens, even as this meditation is being read. They are often hurting too deeply to actively cry out in prayer, but we can touch the heart of God for the one we don’t know, and help come can because of the prayer of someone they’ve never met.

Recently, a close friend expressed appreciation for an individual who had the gift of a reassuring smile and a quiet hand squeeze, especially in times of hurt. She never had to know what was going on, or what the problem was. That was in the hands of God. But the tender concern connection was worth more than a thousand words.