“The deep meaning of the cross of Christ is that there is no suffering on earth that is not borne by God.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Meditation: When we encounter persons who are suffering either physically, emotionally or mentally, we often use all that we have and pour our strength, health and wellbeing into that person or into the situation, to make things better. That is how helpers come about. The world often experiences relief and moments of betterment through those who want to help. And yet, when we become such helpers our resources become easily exhausted after a while. We start feeling in body, mind and spirit similar ailments that the suffering persons have we are trying to help. Many people like social workers, nurses or pastors start burning out. But also family members who care for the generation above or below know this phenomenon. The experience of having taken in too much suffering of others is called compassion fatigue. This exhaustion becomes very real and is often accompanied by symptoms like depression, complete physical exhaustion or even spiritual despair.
Prayer: God, in times of such exhaustion I am called to come to you and rest. I am invited to acknowledge and accept my human limitations and boundaries. I am not You. I am human. The other persons’ suffering needs to be held by Your hands that are bigger than mine. I am not able to bear all suffering, but Christ did. You don’t ask me to help, just to serve. And so I allow myself to come to You and rest from trying to help. I hide myself in Your arms, gracious God, and I stop helping but begin to serve those who are suffering by praying for them. Sometimes we cannot help and we cannot even bear the suffering, but You can and will. Amen
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30