The Oxford Dictionary describes it as:
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
I often pray for empathy because sometimes I struggle to understand totally the feelings people have when they are experiencing difficult situations. We can probably understand their pain on a certain level but unless we have, or are going through the same thing can we really?
We have a close friend with cancer. He had an operation on his bowel and then chemotherapy and then an operation to remove a tumor from his lung. He went a very short time before another spot showed up. He is back on chemo again and is waiting for the results.
Now we have had feelings of shock and sadness during this period, but we don’t really know what it is truly like to face our own mortality in such a way.
Four years ago we were expecting our fifth child. This was our 3rd child after a ten year break. We were thrilled, even my fifth c-section didn’t put me off.
Everything was going great until 26 weeks and our baby passed away. It was one of those situations that always happens to someone else and now it was happening to us. Now I can truly understand how other people feel who have lost a child.
Going through this loss has really helped me develop a greater empathy with people. It has given me a passion to help people however I can and has made me sensitive to their needs.
I’m not saying that I want to go through difficult situations so that I can have the ability to understand the feelings of others, but I do pray for deeper empathy and understanding for people who are. We as a family want to be able to support others through their difficulties.
Empathy will help us help them in any way we can whether food, friendship and always prayer.
What situations have you been through that have enabled you to empathize with others, and how has this led you to help them??
PS: Just the other day I was talking to the wife of our friend that I mentioned above with cancer. We were discussing their future and what would happen when the results that came through weren’t good.
She stated that they have really had to look at who they put their trust in. They acknowledge that God is in control and He is leading and guiding the situation. They understand that even if the prognosis isn’t good He is still in control.
They believe that they have a life to be lived and every day extra is a blessing and they will keep on keeping on until they can’t.
We really admire them. It is easy to say “God is in control” when things in your life are going good, but to be able to say it when things are bad is the ultimate.
I still can’t truly grasp the depth of what they are facing, but their faith is encouraging my faith and their trust in God is encouraging mine. Our relationship is deepening and we are now really good friends. We pray that God will keep him with us for a long time but know that if he is not to conquer this cancer then he will be in Heaven with the Lord and that should be our greatest desire.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on our own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5 – 6