“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8
Sympathy, as described by Rick Warren, in fellowship sympathy is not giving advice or offering quick, cosmetic help, sympathy is entering in and sharing the pain of others.
Recently a friend dropped everything and came to my house to pray with me. Putting her entirety into prayer, sympathetic to our situation, she gave herself, whole heartedly in prayer and love.
God’s desire is for us to listen and understand and validate the feelings of others. Slow down and take the time to invest in those around us.
I want to share a story about Isabella, this beautiful, frail woman we met at St. Peters Palliative Care when Pete’s mother was dying of lung cancer…
Well, I actually never really spoke to her and never officially met her, but my spirit met with her ever time I would visit Maria (mother-in-law). I was drawn to her and sympathetic to her situation, she was further along than Maria and each time I could see her slipping away. I would keep her in my prayers and wonder where her family was. We either would miss each others comings and goings or there wasn’t any family around. My heart broke for this wonderful woman I didn’t even know.
One evening as we arrived to visit, I could see a change in Isabella, I’m not sure that anyone else did but my spirit was in-tune. We had friends with us and were only there for a short time and as we were rushing away I had the strongest tug on my heart that I have ever felt. I couldn’t leave without praying with Isabella.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t pray with her because she was unable to speak, possibly not able to comprehend at this point, or maybe she spoke another language. In a ward room with four beds and doors wide open, the Holy Spirit was calling me.
Most importantly with my Greek mother-in-law who speaks limited English watching me and trying to shew me away. I can remember her face now and laugh at what she must have been thinking… this crazy woman is going to be marrying her son and she is standing there with her arms stretched high and wide and her face turned up to the ceiling, tears streaming down her face and speaking in another language (not English).
I interceded for Isabella that night with all of my heart, sympathetic to what she had gone through and what was ahead. Praying the Lord would receive her into his arms. I will always remember Isabella.
We got a call from Mom the next morning beautiful Isabella had passed away through the night.
God is so Good.
Answer the call, dive in with your whole self, share life with others.