The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Compassion is complex. Compassion is hearing or seeing injustice and heartbreak, then feeling the unrelenting need to do something about it. What does that mean? Compassion is choosing to share in the pain of another person, carrying some of their burden with them. Making a conscious choice to enter into someone’s suffering with them and meet them right there.
So as I sit in their home with them on the edge of their bed because that is the only thing that can fit in the tiny space, I look around. It is a one room,
crumbling mud structure, with a dirt floor. Stifling hot, the whole community
smelling of urine and feces because they don’t have running water for proper toilets. I listen to the story of Chantal, being an orphan of the Genocide in 1994 was raped at 15 and became pregnant. She chose to still have the baby, even with no support, because she doesn’t believe in abortion. After giving birth she is forced into prostitution by the people she is staying with and by her circumstances. Listening to her story I realize I am entering into a place she has allowed very few people, into her anguish, into her humiliation, into her heart.
I also got the privilege to sit with a woman who sobbed uncontrollably in my arms because all she wanted was for her 8 year old daughter to go to school and have a better life than she has had as a commercial sex worker in one of the poorest areas. She didn’t want her daughter to be forced to have sex with drunken men for as little as $5.00usd per customer. By being there to hold her as she wept, I think she was able to see God loving her through us.
Relationships that are only on the surface cannot change someone’s world. Taking a risk, volunteering to feel the pain of another, no matter what that cost, is a way to truly change your life and theirs. This experience is beautiful and ugly. It is simple and difficult. It is wonderful and terrible. But most of all it is worth it. Even if I have to sit with the Father in my sadness and in the pain of this world. God never said we would leave this world unscarred. If I can get those scars doing His work, to further His kingdom, through fearless compassion then I am more than happy to do it. For His scars are eternal, mine are only for a little while. I can only pray for courage and strength during those dark moments. I pray for Jesus to love through me and hold my hand as He leads me out of the darkness.