God has a way of getting His message to us especially if it takes unexpected turns. What started out as a normal Sunday service quickly turned into an extraordinary move of the Spirit of God centering on the theme of compassion. This was a particularly special moment for me, considering I had been asked to deliver the message this morning. The Lord had directed me to speak on His compassion for us, how it relates to us and even works through us. I did not share the complete message this week as the Spirit took over and directed us in a time of prayer, reading scripture (Isaiah 53), thoughts, observations and testimonies about the compassion of God.
“You should have prayed this way” or “you didn’t stand on this or that scripture” they would say. On and on it went with the whole “works” spiel about not doing enough of this or doing enough of that and blah, and blah and blah. Apparently these "faith" ministers did not offer simple compassion, an earnest prayer, a non-judging word of encouragement, or even a brotherly shoulder to lean on. Because we had no real way of physically reaching out to him, we simply yet heartily prayed for this person, his family, and his congregation.
After the prayer the Spirit of God enveloped the place with a special presence. People started to share about their recent difficulties with physical pain and back injuries. They went from doctor to chiropractor as they prayed for relief from the pain. But during those trying times, they found the Lord had given them a sense of compassion for others who cannot function without medication because of their physical pain. At one time, they did not comprehend the agony and sometimes dependence on meds that happens when someone has chronic, unrelenting pain. Now these same people that did not believe a person needed that much or that strong of a prescription to get out of bed, now sympathize and express concern for them in a way they never could before. Now, I am not saying that God puts us through pain or injury just so we can empathize with someone in their trials, but I am not going to say that He doesn’t do it either.
Then, in a spontaneous demonstration of compassion, all of us with physical pain - including myself - were called up to the front to pray for each other. It was a very moving experience as we held or placed our hands on the shoulder of the one next to us, lifting them up to the Lord in prayer.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows. - 2 Cor 1:3-5
The main thing I believe we all can learn from a special anointing or moves of God like today is not to be so caught up in our own needs and issues that we miss those whom God brings across our path who need a loving hand, a listening ear, and a compassionate heart. Just remember that before you or I may know it, we will be the ones in need of a kind word, a hug, or someone to tell us that God loves us, that they know what we are going though, and that God always - without fail - has us in His arms.