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Enduring Needs

Staff Member
When Jesus heard [it], He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. Matthew 14:13 NKJV

The moments that most test your compassion for others are the moments you most need the compassion of others.

After John the Baptist’s death, Jesus “withdrew.” He felt sorrow both as a human and as John’s creator. But Jesus didn’t stay in hiding. Matthew’s description reveals not only Jesus’ compassion for John; it reveals a method for dealing with grief.

Although Jesus intended to spend time in a “solitary place,” His empathy interrupted His intent. When He stepped out of the boat, hurting and alone, a crowd came to Him. Instead of following His culture’s grieving process and meeting His own needs, Jesus had “compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14).

This rare form of empathy takes profound inner strength—strength energized not by a desire to meet the expectations of others, but by a desire to meet their needs. Jesus’ compassion caused Him to step out of His boat into a crowd of requests. He turned grief into grace.

The next time you face sorrow, consider mowing a neighbor’s lawn, detailing a car, or making tea for someone who is ill. Charles H. Spurgeon said, “Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” Stepping out of your isolation to meet another’s needs can soften the pain and etch your emotions and efforts into eternity.

Prayer: Father, show me healthy ways to turn my grief into Your grace.
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