Compassion and Inconvenience
Scriptures: Mark 8:1-8, 1 John 3:16-18
Several years ago I watched from afar as a dear friend from college battled breast cancer. When Alyssa was diagnosed, she had a toddler the same age as one of my sons and was expecting baby number two. Even though I hadn’t seen Alyssa in years, I cried when I saw photos of her bald head and pregnant belly. I chipped in with friends to send a care package. And I prayed.
I often shared Alyssa’s Facebook posts and invited others to pray with me when she was having surgery, starting another round of chemo, or delivering her baby. In this way, several friends who had never met Alyssa became invested in her story too.
So when the news came that Alyssa was cancer-free, my friends rejoiced with me!
And then when the cancer came back—widespread and aggressive—many in my community mourned too. Less than five months after her second diagnosis, Alyssa left the pain of this world and entered the arms of Jesus. In the midst of overwhelming grief, I also had the overwhelming desire to go to Alyssa’s memorial service—to bear witness to the world’s profound loss and celebrate the light Alyssa shined.
It wasn’t easy finding a way to go out of town and leave three littles during my husband’s busiest work and travel season. But eventually I lined up a couple different people to help. Then, two days before I was set to leave, one of my helpers got the stomach flu. I had no backup childcare. No one else who could step in. I was devastated.
The next day I was at church when my friend Shannon asked how I was doing and if I was going to the funeral. Shannon didn’t know Alyssa but had been following along through Facebook and regularly prayed for my sweet friend and her young family.
I told Shannon how I had really hoped to go but my childcare plans fell through. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Shannon handed me a tissue from her purse and without skipping a beat said, “Maybe I can watch the boys for you. I’ll have to double-check if I can move a couple things around, but I should be able to do it.”
Shannon had never watched my kids before. We honestly weren’t super close at the time. Yet here she was, rearranging her schedule to help. I couldn’t believe someone would do that for me.
As I traveled the long stretch of California highway to Alyssa’s funeral, a steady stream of tears coursed down my cheeks. Yes, I grieved my beautiful friend’s passing, but I also cried for another beautiful friend’s outpouring of compassion. A kindness I will never forget.
Prayer for today:
Jesus, thank You for having compassion on the hungry crowd and on me. Help me focus less on my predicaments and more on what You’ve already provided; less on my own plans and more on Your power. And give me opportunities this week to tangibly love others. Thank You for laying down Your life for me. Prepare me to do the same for my friends. Amen.