Mission of Compassion
One of my most important routines is taking a few minutes each morning to review the blessings and challenges in my life and in our life together as a community. Over the past two years, in the face of many difficulties, this practice has become even more important to me as a way to reflect on God’s grace and love.
A passage that aligns well with those reflections is found in the Biblical book of 2 Corinthians. One of the early leaders of the Christian church, the Apostle Paul, describes God in this way. “He is the Father who is compassionate and who gives comfort. He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, GWT).
This text contains an important description of the ideas that inspired our Adventist HealthCare Mission to faithfully “extend God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.”
First, God is introduced as the one “who is compassionate.” To be compassionate means to be aware of the needs of those around us and to have a desire to meet those needs. It is an effort to alleviate the suffering encountered in the world. What a powerful idea that God is the originator of our compassion and healing efforts. We are His agents of mercy and care.
Next, God is described as one who “who gives comfort.” This is the promise that God’s comforting spirit is meant for every patient, every family member, and for each of us, too. We can trust in his comfort for us personally as well as for those we love, those we serve and those we work alongside.
Finally, Paul continues by stating that God gives His comfort to us so that we may in turn comfort others. We are not called to bask in God’s mercy and exclude others from this blessing. We are not somehow isolated or untouched by the needs of those around us. We are given comfort so that we may comfort others. Drawing on our own experiences with God, we can then serve as channels for God to bring hope and healing.
As we journey through these difficult times, we can find certainty in the love and grace of the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort, who is with us in any trouble. And we can have certainty that God’s empowering love gives meaning and value to all our efforts to extend His care to those we serve.