(***You can own a fine art print of this cartoon called "Someone Cares". Go to my online shop if interested!)
One of the greatest compliments I could ever receive as a pastor was when someone would say to me in the midst of their struggle, "We so appreciate you just being here and not trying to fix things or make us feel better."
On the other end of the spectrum, let's say my daughter is going through a struggle. As most parents can't help doing, I sometimes go into rescue mode and try to tell her what she should do. She might say something like, "Dad, I don't need you to preach. Just be with me and listen."
Suffering is a part of life. Struggle is inevitable. Pain is predictable. Even though we might wish for the opposite, most of us know there are no easy answers. Some know there are NO answers. The best thing we can offer hurting people is our presence. Just being with people who are struggling.
After all, that's what compassion literally means! "Com" = "with", and "passion" = "suffering".
Suffer with people. That is truly incarnational. And that is why this is the essence of the gospel story.
Here's an invitation: I invite you to consider joining The Lasting Supper, an online community full of amazing people who know how to suffer with others without judgment or advice!