So what happens when we step into the mud? We get dirty, right? Have you ever stepped into someone else’s pain or problems and it causes you to get hurt or uncomfortable in some way?
This past Tuesday was a very difficult day. We are in what we hope is the final phase of our adoption, but we found out that our sweet adoptive daughter is sick. Sick in a country that has very little medical care. Sick in a country where diseases that have been almost completely eradicated from the US are commonplace. On top of all that, I found out that two of our kids in our children’s home are in the hospital very sick. The realization sets in that without our program being there and the wonderful sponsors of these two boys, they probably wouldn’t be alive right now and it’s a sobering reality.
I have ups and downs in this work we are doing. There are days of celebration like recently when we got the news that our primary school is fully funded. But there are a lot of days of heartache. Some days, like last Tuesday, you just wonder what else can happen, how much more can your heart take.
In a moment of quietness, God spoke something so clear. Our conversation went like this:
(Me)“God, I just don’t understand, we are just trying to help these kids, and its so painful, so overwhelming, how much more heartbreak can we take?”
(God) “What you are doing is an act of compassion, right?”
(Me) “Yes, yes it is.”
(God) “And compassion means to suffer with, to suffer alongside, right?”
(Me) “Yes, yes it does.”
(God) “So at what point, did you expect to step into suffering and not feel pain, to not become uncomfortable?”
(Me) “I see it now.”
(God) “Good, then let’s get on with it, follow me.”
I am not sure if it is a western culture thing, or just a human thing, but I know our tendency is towards comfort and away from pain. When it’s cold out, we put a coat on. When it’s hot out, we put the AC on. When our back hurts, we take a Motrin. We run from pain, hurt and confrontation. We all want to be comfortable.
Later in the week, we also learned of the unexpected death of a missionary we know. He spent many years serving God, choosing to follow Him over the life he could’ve had of comfort. I thought of him standing before Jesus. I do not think he in that moment said, “I wish I would’ve lived a more comfortable life.” I think its safe to say, looking into Jesus’ eyes, he was glad he laid it all down for Him.
So now, the challenge comes to you and me friend. We have a God who ran towards suffering, not away from it. When we see injustice, when we see people hurting will we take the easy way out and simply say, “I’m praying for you”? Or, will we embrace true compassion, one that choses to step into suffering and expose ourselves to potential pain and hurt?
Do we really want to step out of this life, into the next unscathed when others are suffering so much? I wanna leave this world with compassion scars, because the One I am following after has them, and I want my life to look like His. So let’s go, let’s get on with it.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
How have you stepped into someone’s pain to show true compassion? Has someone done that for you? I would love to hear your story. Let’s encourage each other with stories of hope.