A little over two weeks ago, while gathered in a hospital waiting room, my family was witness to one of the greatest examples of compassion and love.
My dad has had a long health journey over the last couple of years — one issue being his eyes. He has had endless care, instructions, procedures, surgeries, complications, and treatments for his eyes. At times, he has been able to see out of one eye; other times, he hasn’t been able to see at all.
It has been heartbreaking to watch my strong, active dad suddenly become so vulnerable. He’s a farmer who has worked every day, sun up to sun down, but who has now been spending much of his time trapped in the house. He can only walk where he knows by heart, the same path around the farm day after day. He has needed help as if he’s aged thirty years overnight.
We learned that a cornea transplant might be the only thing that could help him see again, and though it was a scary thought, we finally had hope.
The time seemed to drag on and on from the day we knew he would need a transplant until the day we sat in the waiting room, praying all would turn out well and that my dad’s sight would be restored. We had hope all because someone had made the compassionate decision to change the life of a stranger.
We are just ordinary people. We are just an ordinary family. But through His love and mercy, we received the most extraordinary gift — the gift of hope, the gift of sight, and a renewed life for my sweet dad.
We witnessed the highest form of giving and the greatest gesture of human compassion our family has ever experienced.
When we think about our world today, compassionate might not be high on the list of adjectives we would use. So many in this world have all but lost sight of the compassion of Christ, but we are called to be like Him. We are called to be kind and compassionate to one another, just as the Lord has been to us.
Compassion is emotional, involved, and active. It requires more than just words, more than just a feeling we have. We are called to do more than feel sorry for someone from a distance. We are called to be like Christ and to do something.
Jesus demonstrated the ultimate expression of love for all mankind when He died on the cross, and when we live out the love He’s shown us, we recognize the suffering of others, have sympathy, and take action to help. It means putting ourselves out there and getting engaged. It means following Christ’s example to bring love and compassion where it’s needed, though it may be uncomfortable and though others may not want to do the work alongside you.
It is all too easy to fill our hearts with only our wants, needs, and worries. But do we leave room in our hearts for the pain of others? If we slow down to look beyond ourselves, we will see the opportunities to draw near to Him and experience the power of His love for those around us.
When we respond by taking steps to live out Christlike compassion, people will be forever changed.
Our family has been forever changed because of what we witnessed and experienced that special day in June. We have been blessed and have seen that by His grace, we can be vessels through which His compassion flows to others. We can be image bearers of Christ and show others that God is near, that He is with us, and that His compassions never fail.
The Lord’s lovingkindesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.
Lamentations 3:22 (NASB)