Compassion in Suffering

He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:3–4)

Lord, words of hope from others can fall flat if things aren't right in our own lives. When we're consumed by rage and resentment, somehow words about joy and purpose sound hollow . . . they seem meaningless. But when our hearts are right with You, we have ears to hear the message of hope. Rather than resisting others' words, we appreciate them, and we love You for sending them to us in a time of need.

Father, truth be told, some of us are in great anguish. Give us grace to match our trials—better still, to rise above them. Grant a sense of hope and purpose beyond our pain. Bless us with a fresh reminder that we are not alone . . . that Your plan has not been thwarted . . . that we have not been abandoned even when our suffering gets worse, not better.

After You have strengthened us—and we are on our feet—help us maintain a compassion for those who suffer. Give us a listening ear and a word of encouragement for others living in this world of hurt. Remind us how we felt when we were there . . . and that Your plan for us may include another walk with You down the narrow and rugged path of suffering. And remind us also that Your Son, though sinless, was acquainted with grief.

We ask this in the compassionate name of the Man of Sorrows. Amen.

See also Proverbs 25:20; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; Hebrews 12:3; 1 Peter 2:21.

Excerpted from The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 1, Copyright © 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

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