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Suffering With

Today’s Reflection

COMPASSION means “suffering with.” Since the Christian life flows from the life of Christ, we can expect not only to suffer in our life but also to enter into others’ suffering. Paul’s talk of joy is not a denial of suffering but a witness to suffering from its very center—the cross. Christians who enter the pain of the world most deeply often express Christian living most joyfully.

—Max O. Vincent
Because of This I Rejoice: Reading Philippians During Lent

From page 58 of Because of This I Rejoice: Reading Philippians During Lent by Max O. Vincent. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

When have you been surprised by an unexpected opportunity to witness? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
—Philippians 2:2, NRSV

This Week: Rejoice in the Lord always. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

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{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Rusty February 9, 2019, 4:06 am

    I suppose I have encountered those situations. I am not big on approaching people to tell them about Jesus (Lord, please forgive me). I have a friend who is excellent at doing that with compassion – with wonderful outcomes, and another friend who is not as compassionate or nuanced about it and I fear he sometimes does more harm than good. In terms of “witness”, I would have to say my witness, mainly, is to try to share the love of Christ (please, God) through my actions, respect (again, please, God), and joyful living. There are many ways, I believe, to witness, and I prefer to observe the urging of 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have [and to] do this with gentleness and respect.” And yes, I have had unexpected opportunities to talk with people about my personal faith and the Christian faith, generally, in situations like that. I would be interested in hearing what others in our UR family have to say about witnessing.

    I am grateful for all who post here. The outpourings of love, both in the outstretched arms of love for all, and also from those of you who take such thoughtful care and concern to offer prayer and emotional support for individuals in their immediate situations, makes my heart full. I know I and my dear K have many times been the recipients of your prayers and well wishes. For that, and for the love shared each and every day here, I am more grateful than I can say.

    Lord, God, glory to you whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Amen.

    • Marti Williams February 9, 2019, 12:50 pm

      Your comment made me take a second glance at the question for today. It looks like we put the wrong question on today’s reflection. Sorry about that. Thank you—and the rest of our Reflections family—for engaging with us. I am as impacted by the comments and conversation as I am by the reflections themselves. —Marti Williams-Martin (The Upper Room staff)

      • Connie February 10, 2019, 8:29 am

        Love you, Upper Room Staff. You all are a blessing.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling February 9, 2019, 4:29 am

    By looking out for the needy students, they would ask, ” are you a Christian?”

    Help us God to be always prepared to witness.

    Blessings!

    May God watch over Marcy and Julie. May all their needs be met!

  • Jill February 9, 2019, 5:43 am

    This crisis point in my life is giving me unanticipated opportunities (and unwanted…considering the circumstances) to allow Christ to speak through me. I appreciate your well thought out comments, Rusty. There are those who are so gifted and able to witness, like Johnny on the spot. My “witnessing” opportunities – I feel – come through living life, being set apart from the world. I hope others see that I handle things differently, perhaps more measured and with a dose of grace. At least that is my desire. I, too, am ready to give an answer for my peace. And hope to glorify Him in all circumstances. Pretty high expectations, but a focus I need to maintain.
    I was lying in bed last night, not yet asleep – and I thought I should think about specific things I should be grateful for – and name them to God. And, I have gotten away from that here – and I want to get back to it. I want to be more specific. I am grateful for Todd – the day nurse who was with my mom her three days in the hospital. What care, what kindness – he never seemed rushed. Thank You, Father – for putting mom on Todd’s rotation. I am grateful for my dad’s strength and how he loves mom. I am grateful for the hope of hospice and more tender and compassionate people to see us through this leg of the journey. We will meet our hospice nurse today. I am grateful mom was able to come home yesterday – that is all she wanted.
    I am grateful for the faithful community here, thank you for your continued prayers.

    • Jim February 13, 2019, 7:48 am

      Jill, I just wanted you to know that we are praying for you, Larry, and Gloria! Praying specifically that you will feel the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit in the days ahead. What an awesome privilege to serve our parents during these days. In the end you will cherish this time you spend with your mother and father.

  • robert moeller February 9, 2019, 7:04 am

    I was surprised that today’s question came after the “Suffering With” reflection, but as I write I think that when you are suffering with someone that is a great opportunity to share your faith since at the point you are of the “same mind’ as the the person for whom you are present.

    Thankful for a good walk, progress being made in many areas, and blue sky and sun.

    While Anneliese had a tough day on Thursday going to see her primary care doctor. She received pain medication that actually works, knows she will have an MRI on Monday, and that home health care is on the way. Very painful moving around and the activity of the day left her completely exhausted, but she was able to rest and had help with meals. Very thankful for all of this.

    Very thankful that Gloria is home, my Mom’s visits to the hospital were very trying. Hospice is wonderful, lots of support not just for the patient, but alos those who are caregivers. It is a blessing.

    Continued prayers for Marcy and Julie as Mary mentions.

    Thankful for Rusty, Mary, and Jill’s posts. We are human, we do the best we can, some of us are more spiritually gifted in witnessing than others and yet we all are empowered in a variety of ways to be witnesses. I’ve told people of my experiences and was not believed. That we are witnesses, regardless of the outcome, is what counts. Thank You, Lord. Your love, grace, and mercy fill the huge gaps where we failed.

  • Julie February 9, 2019, 8:36 am

    I love Rusty’s insights regarding witnessing. After all it is even described in the Bible, each person has their own talent that God has given. Some are good at witnessing. I am like everyone else, if asked I will explain. Mostly, my idea is to offer to pray for people. I ask if it would be okay with them if I add them to my prayer list. Not one person has said noo and most seem very grateful. We all need to feel that someone cares.
    I also love Rusty’s words regarding this group of loving and thought ful individuals. Rusty, your gift seems to be insight and thoughtful writing.
    Thankful to hear from Jill. I continue to pray for Jill, Gloria, Larry and Becky. When I worked in hospice most of our clients were at home. It is helpful for their feeling of wellbeing. We also spent much of our time with the family. We also continued to support the family after the initial client passed. Prayers for your family Jill.
    Prayers for Mary and her joy that shines for all to see.
    Prayers for Robert and his gentle witness as a loving and caring father. He is a living example of our God as a father.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell and their continued physical healing.
    Prayers for Lou and her children. May Lou’s sorrow and loneliness be minimal, especially this week with Valentine’s day.
    Prayers for Betsy and her family, may all remain healthy.
    Prayers for April and her family and their quiet and joy filled life.
    Prayers for Connie, may her melancholy lift and reveal joy filled sunshine.
    Prayers for Marcy, may she be receiving all the care and medications she needs to alleviate her suffering.
    Prayers and blessings and warm hugs for each UR family members, long time member, new and silent

  • Edy February 9, 2019, 8:57 am

    Nice to hear from Rusty. It’s been awhile since I posted. I think God wants us to show others by our behavior and words. His love and compassion.comes from within our hearts. The spoken word is good too if there is an opportunity I share scripture verses. My favorite is Romans8:28. We can be a good example out there in this broken world by being kind and loving, like Christ. Generous and caring for others in time of need. Especially when serious illness attacks.

    • Connie February 9, 2019, 9:06 am

      Hello Edy. Good to “see” you.

  • Connie February 9, 2019, 9:03 am

    Julie always has the right words……”melancholy”
    I am not around as many people the last couple of years, but I try to follow the “rules” (10). I try to show love and caring to others. Also, gratefulness when I experience kindness. Kindness touches my heart.
    Blessings to all who visit here. Have a “heartfelt” week.

  • Andrea February 9, 2019, 9:54 am

    I hope my witness is in my actions, as I try to exemplify Jesus’ teachings of love, compassion, and forgiveness, the best I can. I do not talk about my faith often. As I am more apt to perceive a truth or quality in people’s actions, so I hope my actions will convey my faith in God.

    In this reading, “suffering with” – compassion – to me means being fully present to someone who is suffering, listening attentively and hearing what they say, accepting fully, and “walking” with them through the pain and suffering. I believe God will do the rest.

    My prayers continue for UR friends and those for whom you pray. Wishing all a blessed weekend.

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