I began a two-week vacation to my home town in upstate NY on Saturday.
I boarded my first flight of the day and got myself situation in my aisle seat. After about five minutes, an elderly lady sat in the seat in front of me along with what appeared to be her daughter. The elderly lady was on oxygen and held her portable oxygen tank in her lap.
The plane took off and we quickly reached our cruising altitude. I could tell that the elderly lady in front of me was uncomfortable. She alternated between standing and sitting. When sitting, she would bounce her right foot up and down in the aisle. Sometimes the grimace of pain expressed on her face was too much see.
Something began stirring in my heart. The Lord spoke to me and told me to give her a copy of my new book In His Hands, I Am Healed. Fortunately, I had one in my carry-on bag that was located underneath my seat. I pulled it out of my bag, stood up, and leaned over to her. I explained to her that I had experienced my own health issues and I knew the challenges she was facing with her health. I continued to share that I had written a book and was giving her a copy in hopes it would encourage her as she continued her journey. Her and her daughter smiled at me and thanked me. I then went to the restroom and noticed that the elderly lady was reading my book when I returned to my seat. I leaned over again and asked her if she would like for me to sign it. With a beaming smile, she said “yes.” After she shared her name was Velma, I signed her book, returned it to her, and then sat down in my seat.
The stirring in my heart intensified after my interaction with Velma. I became overwhelm with a compassion for her that I’ve never felt before. I began to pray for Velma while trying to hold back my tears. I asked God to release her from the pain that was clearly visible to me.
God reminded me of the scripture passage in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
As I continued to pray for Velma, God showed me that my deep compassion was rooted in my own suffering that I went through in my five cancer diagnoses.
In reading about compassion through the Bible, it is obvious that Jesus was moved by compassion. Compassion moved Jesus to help the people who were in distressed, just like I was moved to help Velma. I’m not sure if Jesus’ compassion was rooted to the fact that He knew He would suffer on the cross, but I do know that I can use my sufferings to help other people through their struggles.
I’m thankful for my encounter with Velma because it taught me a lesson about the compassion of Jesus that I hadn’t known before. Additionally, the lesson also allowed me to become more like Christ, and this is what I’m supposed to do in working out my salvation (Philippians 2:12).