Romans 12:15,16 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Paul tells us in Romans 12:1 to respond to the mercy of Christ by offering ourselves up as a kind of sacrifice to God. Then he broadly describes what sacrificial living looks like: humility lived out in generosity toward one another.
But what to give?
Whatever is needed at the time: Sometimes celebration. Sometimes grieving.
Someone I love very much has been swallowed up by depression this month. I was telling his wife how depression has changed me: It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, yet it’s also the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.
Only in the depths of depression have I truly experienced total emptiness – no hope, no strength, no life in me. Only in depression have I ever truly depended on God completely – for the next breath, the next second, a shred of faith to hold onto.
I’ve emerged each time from this prolonged soul-shaking agony less conceited, more tuned to the pain of others, genuinely broken by their brokenness. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but before depression I really had to work at empathy, faking it at times, trying to imagine what it must be like to be hurting so badly. I don’t need an imagination now.
I’ve been given new and powerful words to offer the grieving around me: “me too.”
I take great comfort today – and I hope you do to – in God’s descent as Christ into our human suffering. He chose pain.
He has been betrayed, hungry, doubted, hated, shunned, mocked, belittled, alone and worn out. He has wept, wrestled, lost, wandered, thirsted, and prayed urgently through the night.
And to us He says, “me too.”
In response to His mercy…our grief equips us to comfort those who grieve, and our hurts make us more helpful.
Comforter, without You I am breathless, faithless, lifeless. Thank you for supplying all I need today. Turn my hurt into someone’s help. Comfort through me as You have comforted me. Amen.