6On Herod's birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much 7that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." 9The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10and had John beheaded in the prison. 11His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. 13When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Immediately following this is the feeding of the 5,000. Our friend talked about the fact that Jesus had just received news that his close friend, fellow minister, and cousin had been brutally killed. He withdrew from everyone to get away and be alone. Yet the crowds wouldn't leave him alone and brought to him their needs. The last verse quoted above says that Jesus had compassion on them, put aside his own needs and desires, and met their needs. We talked about how he met physical needs - by feeding and healing, mental - by healing, and emotional - by having compassion for their hurts.
I have realized lately that I have been longing for compassion. Right now we are facing some of the biggest changes and transitions in our life. I am about to graduate with my Masters degree. I am pregnant with our first child. We are preparing to move because of a job. We are trying to buy a house. And, with the exception of the birth of our baby, we are doing this all possibly in December. Hello, holidays. It has been stressful to say the least. We are trying to find a house to buy long-distance. I don't get to just drive through neighborhoods to see what I think.
I'm also facing a lot of losses. We are losing the relationships we have built here - maybe not permanently, but in the way they have been in community here. We are losing our church. I will no longer be a student - though not a bad thing, something very different. Having a baby means the loss of many things too - things I gladly give up because we want a baby and want to be here with the baby. Both of the places where I have been doing my internship have basically offered me a job - I'm giving up those opportunities by moving. I'm also giving up my job for our church, a job that was created for me when we got here. I'm moving farther away from my parents. Not all the losses are negative, but they are all losses and need recognition.
I'm not trying to throw a pity-party. I know we have lots of blessings coming. I have just been longing for compassion. I have heard plenty of "There will be ministry opportunities in Kerrville. Kerrville is a mission field too. You'll be able to find a counseling job. You'll make new friends." and other well-meaning encouragement phrases. The intentions are good and I appreciate the reminder.
But I also want someone to just level with me and agree that packing up your life in the middle of a busy season of the year, and a time when you like to be with community, and moving off to a new place is difficult. I want someone to come to where I am and agree "yes, you will miss Target and the things you are used to." I want someone to say, "Man, that's a lot on your plate."
Then I thought about this passage and realized Jesus stands ready to offer me compassion. He knows my heart. He knows that I will follow wherever He leads, even if I'm not crazy about it. He knows that He has my heart, it's just that my emotions get in the way sometimes. He also knows that I just need some compassion and support right now. And I know from the Word that He will give that to me, no matter what.