My heart aches as it reaches out in compassion. Toward you, my friend, and your needs. Toward those I don’t know and their needs. Toward the people fleeing war and strife. Toward those seeking a better life for their children. And I know your heart goes out to all people, too, because in our common humanity, we are built to feel for one another. That is what makes us alive.
Where we may differ is in how we approach the problem of helping a world full of hurting, sad, poor and troubled people—some of them sitting right next to us and some of them living in our hearts through sad pictures of little boys in an ambulance in Aleppo, Syria.
Oh God of tender mercy and love toward all, how do we respond?
Do we simply throw open the gates and let everyone in and enjoy beautiful chaos? (I have been accused of espousing this crazy option! But I will quickly point out that it’s not realistic…)
Do we build a “big, beautiful door” as our President has suggested and ask people to use that door?
Do we emulate our small children and grandchildren who don’t know better and refuse to share? We teach them to share and give because that is the source of true life. In the upside down Way of Love, we see it over and over, “Give and you shall receive. Die and you shall live.”
Do we wall ourselves off, huddle up around our campfire in the middle of our circled wagons praying that the wild forces outside will not penetrate our feeble defenses?
How do we live in all of this and continue to be the people of God who give freely, who lay down our lives for others, who walk with Jesus every day? For goodness sake, what would HE do??
For one thing, he would tell us, “Fear not.”
Living in fear is living in a prison of our own making. It is the gilded cage that promises comfort and delivers confinement instead. Fear begets irrational thinking where survival is supreme and self defense overrules all common sense.
How do we combat the fear that besets us on every side? Sometimes, identifying the thing that is underneath it all, can help us to let go and allow God to comfort us in our dark places. Do we fear losing power? Do we fear losing our material wealth? Do we fear losing our health? Do we fear death? Do we fear the future? Do we fear the present? The answer is probably “yes” and “all of the above.” How can we release our fears and live in the true freedom that Christ offers us? He came to earth to show us the Way, the Truth and the Life. And he invites us to share that with others, not condemning them for not believing as we do, but sharing The True Life by walking together, hand in hand, partaking daily of communion.
As we ask God to “Give us this day our daily bread” we ask for ourselves and for others. May we have enough to satisfy our need and also enough to share with our neighbor. For isn’t this our charge as followers of the One who laid down his life for us all? Jesus, help us to be like you this day.
–Joy Eastridge, Feb. 14, 2017
One thought on “Building Bridges with Compassion”
Joy, your letter was so heart warming, and also comforting to know many of us are trying to offer to those who walk beside us the same comforts and freedoms we cherish. How do we know what to do in these difficult times? We pray for guidance to learn how to reach out to the those hurting and lonely, hungry and lost.
The true answers will surely come from the One who blesses us each day with basic needs, and fortiveness.