My sister sent me a text yesterday and asked if my heart had ever been heavy for the burdens of others…so heavy you could feel the burden pressing on your chest. The answer was “yes”. And I am so thankful that I can respond that way.
A little empathy can be just the gift a person needs to direct them from the darkness of their current trial to the greener pastures that God has in store for them. We endure trials of all kinds in this lifetime. If we walk through the darkness holding onto nothing but the hand of God…then we are blessed to have had the experience. Are we supposed to let go of God’s hand on the other side- after the clouds have parted? No, we are to hold on even tighter and then link up with others along the way. Offering our hands and our heart to them so they can know that they are not alone. God cares. So do I.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
I can tell you truly, that on Sunday my heart was pricked and bleeding. I cried with a friend as her family endures the loss of an unborn child and I felt the pain of that experience all over again like it was a fresh wound. But, this time I also have the blessing of hindsight -God brought me through. While that is something that I may not have seen as a blessing five years ago- it is a blessing that she can lean on my shoulders today and not feel so alone through the ordeal. Empathy.
As I was wiping my tears between Sunday School and Worship, I was approached with a warm hug from a dear sister. When she asked me what was wrong, I responded with that one word, “Empathy”. It hurts. She opened her journal and shared with me that her class had just been studying through James 1 that very morning.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
She was right on time…and empathizing with me. Pass it on girl, pass it on!
Later that evening we gathered to pray for a family who is hanging on to the hem of Jesus’ robe as they expectantly plea for the safe delivery of a baby and a miracle for both mother and child. My heart was still gushing from the morning. As I sat on the floor of the church near the family- listening to the pain and hope emanating from their prayers- I was overwhelmed and blessed to know that there is such a wonderful church body present to help them…to pray with them…and to pray for them…to shoulder their burden. Empathy.
My heart bleeds for the hurting today. My heart bleeds for the hopeful today. God gives us the gift to feel deeply and hurt deeply and love deeply and empathize deeply…I am blessed by and can be a blessing to others with this bleeding heart.