From Crushed to Compassion

Isaiah 61:1-4 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on comfort all who bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

My husband, Scott, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February, 2009.  After weeks of contemplation, we elected surgical treatment.  Because of Scott's notable physical fitness, the doctor anticipated Scott's recovery would be on the relatively easy end.  We went into surgery expecting a three day hospital stay and a two week return to gym workouts.   That wasn't to be.

After his three day hospital visit expanded to five, Scott returned to work (not workouts) two weeks later.  However his pace was severely impaired.  A five minute walk from the office garage had morphed into a thirty minute shamble.  It was during these extended walks that Scott truly saw for the first time the elderly, the paralyzed and others whose life circumstances move them at a slower pace.  When he saw them, he was moved with compassion.

Today I am reading Matthew 14.  This passage opens with the dark scene of John the Baptist's murder.  His followers claimed his decapitated body, buried it and began the arduous trek to break the news to his cousin, Jesus.  I see the slump of their shoulders as they shuffle their way to bring the kinds of news no one wants deliver.  Like anyone who's ever received devastating news, Jesus probably had that scene frozen in his mind for the remainder of His life.

When we pass through the deepest valleys, a range of emotions accompany us.  As Jesus walked that path, He allowed His grief to drive Him into the arms of God.  Jesus sought solitude to mourn but the multitudes allowed Him no privacy.  (Verse 13)  Instead of giving rise to anger or selfishness, Jesus focused His sorrow into compassion for others. (Verse 14)

Just like Scott, compassion followed sight.  It was when Jesus saw the crowd, that mercy overpowered His heart.  Waves of weakness can wash us onto the shore of isolation and self-pity.  They can also usher us into the tide of the tender-hearted.  Jesus and Scott chose the latter.

Jesus, the last thing I'd consider a loss to be is an opportunity.  However nothing is as I would think when it is sifted through Your hands.  The next time I receive difficult news, I'll allow You to move me from crushed to compassion.


  1. Shannon, this has resonated with me tonight more than you could know. Thank you for these words and the reminder that God is working when it is so hard to see him.

  2. God is at work in amazing ways. Anyone have a story of God's work in their life that they want to share?


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