This photo is of a small ceramic hand sitting on my desk. The blue glass piece represents the tears of God’s people. Daily, this visual aid reminds me of God’s Word in Second Corinthians 3-4. 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.
Someone asked me why I put myself through writing my memoir. After all, digging up old wounds and pain isn’t an idea of a good time. I answered, “Because God wanted my story to comfort those with the comfort I received from God.”
Some would call me crazy for being grateful for the challenges I’ve faced in life. More than once I’ve said God took the stuff of my childhood and turned it into fertilizer. The word compassion literally means to “suffer with.” God transformed my suffering into compassion, which has given me the gift to feel deeply. When I feel deeply (empathize) I step away or take time for myself to regroup or restore my energy. I understand why Jesus told his disciples to follow Him up into the hills, to get away from the people. When I step away, I’m told that I am a snob, anti-social or a party pooper. Some well-meaning Christians have even gone so far as to tell me to snap out of it or just be more social. I’ve heard it all.
What these people fail to understand is that I need to take care of myself in the midst of pain. A crowded room of people leaves me internally exhausted. I leave that space (grocery store, church meeting, family gathering etc.) knowing I need time in prayer to discern whose suffering I felt so I can pray for that person. Sometimes I can do that in the moment. Other times, it takes me a bit longer to receive more information. I’m still learning how to use this gift of compassion and I’m not always very good at doing so. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Jesus Christ, the father of compassion offers the gift of suffering so I might comfort others as God comforted me in my sorrow. I am grateful that God has allowed me to suffer with others who are in pain. To the best of my ability today, I will listen, comfort, encourage and restore as Jesus did. I pray that if you have suffered, you too will comfort others in their troubles. One person at a time, God will heal the wounds in our hurting world.
May the tears of your sorrow, blend with the light of God to create rainbows of hope for tomorrow.