Suffering With

As Paul outlined the intimate relationship that should characterize the local church, he wrote: “And whether one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).

To suffer with someone doesn’t mean to drown oneself in another’s problems. That would be as foolish as jumping into water to save a drowning man only to drown oneself. While it may never be possible to fully sympathize with the pain of another, it is always possible to be there for another who does hurt. Suffering is profoundly personal.

To suffer with another is to be there in every possible way to offer that person words of good cheer and comfort. It is to offer one’s sympathy and compassion. It is to share the devastating circumstances as much as possible that have come over another.

Sometimes it takes a lot of time and effort. It requires one to try and understand what is best to do or not do. Sometimes things ought not be said or done in an effort to suffer with others. The Lord promises to give wisdom to those who ask him for it in faith (James 1:5-7).

It has been said that the Lord’s army doesn’t try to bind up the wounds of fallen soldiers – it just shoots them on the spot. That is not always true. Thank God for those who lend a helping hand when a brother is in need. Thank God for those who offer a strong hand to life a fallen comrade in arms. Thank God for those who are there when needed to encourage, heal, and help.

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