A casual expression of sympathy is to say to one who is suffering, “I feel your pain.” A recent study discovered that one in three people actually were able to feel the pain of another. As I was suffering from lumbar bulging disk pain, plus thoracic degenerative disk pain, my wife, Joanne, fell and fractured her pelvis separating it from her hip. Following her major surgery, hospital stay, and time in a rehab facility, she came home making me the primary care giver. In the midst of her painful recovery, I realized I had no more back pain. I had become so absorbed in her pain, empathized so completely, that I felt no more of my pain. Perhaps it was through ministering to the needs of others, that Jesus was able to “endure the cross” (Hebrew 12:2) and all of its pain. The 19h century hymn called Him “the sympathizing Jesus.” Just a thought.
Dr. Dan Crawford, Senior Professor at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, is the WestCoast Baptist Association’s Spiritual Life & Leadership Mentor. Follow Dan on Twitter @DrDanRC and Facebook www.facebook.com/dan.crawford.