Daily Dose, Sept. 20

Empathy ...the ability to really understand what another is feeling, to understand what another is going through, to understand what it's like to walk in their shoes. We generally think of empathy as relating to another in his/her pain, but it can also come with happy or celebratory experiences such as a new job, an engagement or wedding, a pregnancy and new baby, a great vacation or retirement. He or she might be a dear friend, a brother or sister, a parent, a spouse, even a child. Empathy may come from different people at different times or seasons of your life. Empathy is not a feeling. It cannot be turned on and off. I think it's a gift from God. God Himself, as known through the prism of grace, is the ultimate empathizer. There are many examples of this in Scripture. In Genesis 21:17 Abraham banished from his camp the pagan woman, Hagar, who bore him a son at the urging of his legitimate wife Sarah who was barren. In a few years Sarah became jealous of Hagar and had her and her young son banished from the camp. After wandering in the desert until her food and water ran out, Hagar found a bush under which her son could be sheltered until he died. Then comes one of my favorite verses in Scripture, Genesis 21:13. God heard the boy crying and intervened to save them. Even though Hagar was not Abraham's wife and the boy wasn't the child of the covenant, God was moved by the boy's crying, saved them and richly blessed them. Our loving Father hears our crying today, identifies with our pain and reaches out to us with loving arms knowing just what we need at every moment. God is the Great Empathizer. Jane