Choosing to Share Pain

When we see the pain of others, we either move toward it or away from it; we cannot stay the same.


4/27/20232 min read

There is an old hymn entitled, "Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life", (listen and watch here: which reads in part:

In haunts of wretchedness and need,

On shadowed thresholds dark with fears,

From paths were hid the lures of greed,

We catch the vision of your tears.

From tender childhood's helplessness,

From woman's grief, man's burdened toil,

From famished souls, from sorrow's stress,

Your heart has never known recoil.

Today, we ventured back into the West Bank area again to a different village and had a clinic at the town center. The mayor's office was just through a door to the right in the same common area where we saw patients; he came and wanted pictures taken with us. What is taken for granted, and even demanded with little appreciation in return, in parts of the world, is begged for here. Here again, I was humbled when I saw people welcoming someone from outside their area with smiles, with inquisitiveness, and hoping to get some help.

With many of the patients, they need help with affording their medications, some came with acute problems today, and some were curious, wanting a second opinion regarding their conditions. We had a busier clinic day today than the other days thus far. We saw patients who had coronary artery disease, a left pleural effusion, pharyngitis, lymphadenopathy, asthma, allergies, hypertension, osteoarthritis, gastritis, dermatitis, medication side effects, neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, diabetes types 1 and 2, and xerostomia. A child came with his father today and has an enlarged head still from previous hydrocephalus secondary to a myelomeningocele previously repaired; this loving child, who wanted to keep doing high fives with me, has a club foot that his father wants to get corrected. We are going to see what we can do to try to find a solution for him. We kept records of what medications people are taking so that those who need assistance with costs can have that helped. The names of patients are being kept for follow up next week with home-based ministerial visits.

On our way back out today, we got stopped at the checkpoint and the vehicle we were in was searched again. It is not usual for someone's vehicle to be pulled over into the search area in two out of three times exiting that area. The drug sniffing German Shepherd dogs were at it again while the whole vehicle was searched. We entered a metal detector area and our belongings were scanned. My passport and George's ID card were taken until after a little while, we were able to depart with our possessions, and very thankful to be free again to go. We drove for over an hour and got back to Nazareth where George's wife yet again had a delicious meal prepared for us.

I have been profoundly affected this week seeing the pain and suffering of others who are unable to see hope any more because they have been affected by it so long, but at the same time others in the same situations who have a light burning deep within that shows in their life choices. Jesus Christ asks us to not turn away when we see pain, but go toward it. Our natural tendency is to go in the other direction. Jesus Christ willingly chose the cross and no one forced Him. In the same way, He will not force us, but in a whisper we hear that leading to follow Him. From the ashes of the temporal arises healing, and healers. As that old hymn above states, He does not recoil when faced with our pain, and we should not either when faced with the suffering of others. The Holy Spirit must precede your embarking upon what is a frontier to you while He prepares the way, encircles you, and carries you. God is with those who are suffering and shares in the pain He sees and feels. Should we really desire to seek any less?