The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted…Isaiah 61:1
Advent – Day 5: Read: Luke 5
Today I became reaquainted with the term “compassion fatigue.” It is what happens when you spend a large portion of time focusing on the needs of others and, as a result, become desensitized to the needs around you. I admit, that is my paraphrase.
It seems Jesus would have experienced compassion fatigue. There were so many people clamoring to get close, even going to the extremes of cutting through a roof.
But he doesn’t. I am stirred by his response to the leper in chapter 5. The text tells us that the man had “an advanced case of leprosy.” As leprosy advances, the afflicted person loses fingers and toes, and becomes disfigured in the face and body.
As Jesus approached the leper, the text says he bowed his head to the ground and asked Jesus to heal him. Did he bow in reverence or to hide his disfigured face? How often was he humiliated for being in a public place? How long had it been since he had been touched by anyone?
But Jesus TOUCHED HIM! He did the thing no one else would do, and he reached out and touched the man. He didn’t need to touch him to heal him. He only needed to speak the words which he did. Perhaps it is his words that healed the man’s body, but his touch healed the man’s spirit.
Do you feel untouchable? Ostracized? Alienated? Brokenhearted? Cry out to Jesus. His touch will heal your broken heart. He longs to gather you into his arms and comfort you with his love.
Oh yes, one last thought. I believe the reason Jesus didn’t experience compassion fatigue is because he exercised good self-care. Scripture tells us he often withdrew to solitary places for prayer. He knew the value of solitude and lonely places. If you are weary of the needs surrounding you, perhaps you need to step away and practice good self-care.