A week ago, a sermon on sickness may not have seemed all that poignant, but Chris’s sermon on Sunday was all too timely for both me and my husband. What happened between a week ago and now was that we traveled more than 2,000 miles to our parents’ homes in Michigan.
Unfortunately, we both took ill within days of arrival. It hit us differently—I couldn’t hold anything down and Andy had a fever of over 102 degrees—but we were both in bad shape. In the midst of the sickness, my mom stepped up and babied me the way only a mother can. Although many mothers are adept at caring for ill children (even 26-year-old children), my mom’s compassion for those who are suffering is a testament to God’s work in her life.
My mom’s family background was of the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” variety, but in the last five years, I have watched as God has called my mom to be a comfort to those suffering around her, whether it is from physical illness or the death of a loved one. Since God gave her the mission, He also equipped her with His compassion, love, patience, gentleness and faithfulness, which are needed to care for those who are hurting. Through God’s work in her, I have learned that it is only by His strength that we can truly “weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
Seeing God’s work in my mom’s life has also revealed in me a need for Christ-like compassion on those who are sick and suffering around me. Being perfectly honest, though, my lack of compassion is not due to a lack of gifts. Selfishness is what hinders me from serving the sick like my mom and other godly believers I know. I put my desire for comfort above God’s call to tend to those who are sick. I once heard someone say that only the godly priests who died during the bubonic plague, because it was only the selfless priests who would put themselves in harm’s way to care for those who were dying. Today, I’m hardly dealing with the Black Death, but I am praying that God uses this cold and flu season to grow my compassion and love towards those around me.