Healing through the Power of Compassion
I was astounded by the inhumanity and injustice of this world. Knots formed in my stomach and an overwhelming sense of anguish and disgust settled in my heart as I listened to my IPHC ( Introduction to Primary Health Care ) instructor teach on the topic of HIV/AIDS and Human Trafficking. This made me think of the general condition of this day and age. The facts are there:
- 5.9 million children under the age of 5 died in 2015.
- In 2014 1.2 million people died of AIDS.
- There are 20-30 million human trafficked slaves in the world today.
- 800 women die daily from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications.
- An estimated 3 million Syrians have fled Syria since the civil war outbreak.
It is so easy to fall into that dark hole of hopelessness as we look at the need of the world. We can go down a path of despair and apathy or we can remember that there is hope. This hope comes from Jesus, who walked on earth Himself and beheld countless masses of needy people. He healed them, body, soul, mind and spirit.
We can go down a path of despair and apathy or we can remember that there is hope.
How Will We Respond?
God is showing me how this hope takes different forms. One of those forms is shown through His people acting in compassion. We are, after all, His hands and feet. God works in practical ways providing healthcare to help the destitute, through non-profit organizations, lawyers, doctors and governments. And this is remarkable. But the power of a human heart filled with the compassion and love of Christ to heal is extraordinary. This can be as simple as holding a hand, offering a shoulder to cry on, or acknowledging an individual.
Countless times in my life I have wished to be able to help a person in need more practically, but lacked either the resources or knowledge. As our lecturer told story upon story of his experiences of aiding the sick in different countries, I was having flashbacks myself. I remember a time in India when a woman was rushed in on a gurney, foul odors coming from her sari. She was very malnourished and had an inverted uterus that was severely infected. The doctors bustled around, busy with other patients and busy discussing treatment for this woman. The relatives of this woman were left alone, creases of worry forming on their brow as they wondered what was happening. My friend and I walked over to them during a quiet moment, and they threw their arms around us, tears trailing down their faces. No language was spoken except for the language of the heart as they found space in that moment with us to grieve. Being there, enclosing them in our arms, and praying brought them peace that no practical skill could bring. Their heart’s need was met by Him through us being there for them.
But the power of a human heart filled with the compassion and love of Christ to heal is extraordinary.
Through practical skills or compassion, or both, God heals, restores and sets the captives free through ordinary people like us. From the beginning of time He planned to use us as ambassadors of hope. With His eyes I can see glimmers of light in every dark corner of the world. God is at work and always has been, to uphold the cause of the afflicted. His ways are mysterious, and not always obvious, but He is using us, His children, to renew hope in a shattered world.
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” — Psalm 146:5-9
“For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.” — Psalm 72:12-14