“Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering….”I have written your name on the palms of my hands…”Isaiah 49:13,16 (NLT Catholic version)
Have you found yourself questioning God’s compassion on His people during this time when the world seems upside down? Or questioning His compassion for you during your own suffering?
Last night, I was reading a book that referred to John 11:35, when Jesus weeps after Lazarus died. In this scene in the Bible, Jesus exhibited many emotions. As He watches Mary weeping and the others with her wailing, He becomes angry and “deeply troubled”. John then tells us that Jesus began to weep.
In this scene, we see the compassion of our Lord through the humanity of Jesus, as God proclaimed to Isaiah. He weeps not only for Mary and those surrounding her, He weeps for us as well.
Think back to a moment of suffering and reflect on that moment for a minute. Did you surrender that suffering to God, the one who has “written your name on the palms of [His] hands (Isaiah 49:16)?” Or did you bottle it up or try to handle it on your own?
Jesus likely was angry that His people had little faith in the glory of God. He wept for their hurt and the ongoing suffering they would experience through their journey as they struggle in surrendering to God. Today, He weeps for each of us in the same manner. He weeps when we try to take on our own sufferings and don’t cry out to Him for help in belief that He will hold and comfort us. He weeps when we don’t allow those He has placed in our lives to help us through our trials. He weeps when we only see the death and not the resurrection.
There is something amazing in His tears. It’s the comfort He brings us through each other, as a community, as a family, as the body of Christ. In this, there is rejoicing. Sorrow is transformed into joy as we bear each other’s load, lessening the burden.
How do we do that for one another in a time of social distancing?
Prayer – we can still pray for each other’s needs
Listening – we can still call someone and listen to their struggles, their hurt.
Weeping for one another – we can still show empathy for our sisters and brothers as we share in their pain.
God asks us each to be present when someone needs us. He sends each of us to reflect the humanity of Jesus to one another. This is how we bear the load, allowing the Lord to comfort His people.
As children of God, let’s not allow our sisters and brothers to feel forgotten. Remind them that their names are written on the palms of God’s hands that is united through our hands as we hold each other in the depths of our hearts.