Love suffers long… (I Corinthians 13:4)
When we think about love, suffering is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. For the most part, suffering is something we seek to avoid, preferring to enjoy a happier life. But if you are the one suffering, then you welcome the comfort of others. Those who would provide this comfort must enter the pain of another. This is one of the purest expressions of love.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)
If you want to see compassion at work, then look at Jesus. His entire life was about entering the pain of humanity. His compassion drew Him from the heavenly throne to the earthly manger. It caused Him to take pity on the oppressed and the weak. It was the reason He spent countless hours being a Shepherd to wandering sheep.
It is not difficult to find people who need this touch. Elderly are in nursing homes suffering loneliness. Fatherless children suffer the loss of male companionship. People who are entangled in their sins are desperate with no apparent way out. All these conditions and so many, many more cry out for a heart of compassion to respond.
Am I willing to suffer? Am I willing to truly enter the pain of another? None of us can care about everything, but we can all care about something. What moves my heart? It is easy to say, “I love you,” but the willingness to suffer expresses true love without words.
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