SACRED SIX: COMPASSION MESSAGE
Col. 3:12 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
I was asked by my administrator to accompany a resident to an appointment last week. Most of the time, a CNA will escort, but I could sense God chose me this time for some reason. Our resident, Jeannie, was returning for a follow up visit from surgery on her right arm. While at the doctor’s office, the receptionist called Care Ride for pick up as Jeannie saw the doctor. However, an hour later, they had still not arrived. Discomfort was increasing with her arm, but I had just learned that she had a wound on her tailbone making it very difficult for her to sit for an elongated period of time. I phoned Care Ride again to ensure she was on the list for pick-up and was told that their computers were down all day, with no way to assure us of a pick-up time. So waiting was our only recourse and lots of pillows! Jeannie was restless due to increasing pain, and the only thing I wanted to do was to relieve her discomfort any way I could. As much as I prayed for God’s favor for a timely pick-up so that Jeannie could get off her tailbone, God had other plans. One hour turned into another as we waited for any response to return back to our facility. Her pain was getting unbearable, and although the staff would re-position her as needed, it was a short time before she was in agony again. Tears welled up in her eyes as she cried, “I can’t do this one minute longer” causing me to wonder what God was up to.
Suddenly I was reminded of a book I had read a few years ago which was a forerunner to ministry as God introduced me to the compassionate ministry. One of the main tenets was that, as humans, we get frustrated when we can’t fix something for someone which goes right to the heart of our own discomfort. Compassionate ministry tries our flesh but ultimately opens the door to being with a person in their pain rather than trying to alleviate it. My own anxiety kept asking, “What can I do for her?” But, once I surrendered the need to relieve her pain, I saw the shift God was after. She still remained in pain, but as I ceased to change the situation to accepting a higher purpose, I saw God’s peace enter the picture soothing her spirit which was His agenda all along. (And mine too actually!)
Even in our good intentions, we can get in the way of our Lord’s work. Some days it is as easy as refreshing a resident’s ice water to serve them. Other days, it requires an all out surrender knowing there is nothing we can do but let God move without our interference. Jeannie and I arrived back at our facility 4 hours after Care Ride was initially called…a long day. Even through all of her complaining at the office, when we got to our driveway, she peacefully confessed, “It could have been so much worse.” God targeted us both as she got through the unthinkable, and I reminded of our valuable mission of peace.