The human heart is a wellspring of love and it is capable of a depth of compassion that knows no bounds. I saw this demonstrated in the actions of a barber who chose to shave his own head in solidarity with a young woman who was about to lose her hair due to chemotherapy treatment. Through his act of love, he sought to share in her suffering and provide comfort, empathy, and support.
This powerful display of love and compassion brings to mind the words of the apostle Paul, who expressed his desire to share in Christ’s sufferings. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, “I count all things to be loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.” (Philippians 3:8-9)
~ Paul speaks of the profound importance of knowing Christ and being found in Him, even if it means losing everything else.
Paul goes on to describe the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, saying, “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11) For Paul, the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings was not something to be avoided or feared, but rather a privilege to be embraced.
~ Paul sought to become more like Christ and participate in His mission by sharing in His suffering.
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul again speaks of his sufferings, saying, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and I fill up what is lacking of Christ’s afflictions in my flesh, on behalf of His body, which is the church.” (Colossians 1:24)
~ Paul sees his own sufferings as a way of filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions, on behalf of the church.
Paul’s perspective on suffering is rooted in his deep love for Christ and his desire to be like Him. He sees his own suffering as a way of participating in Christ’s mission and demonstrating his love for the church. This is reflected in his words to the Corinthians, where he writes, “For just as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:5)
~ Paul sees his suffering as a way of sharing in Christ’s sufferings and receiving comfort and strength from Him.
The example of the barber who shaved his own head in solidarity with the young woman facing chemotherapy is a powerful reminder of the depth of love and compassion that is possible when we choose to share in another’s suffering. Just as Paul saw his own suffering as a way of participating in Christ’s mission, we too can see our own suffering as a way of sharing in the sufferings of others and demonstrating our love and compassion for them. As we strive to follow Christ’s example of sacrificial love, may we find strength and comfort in His fellowship, even in the midst of our own suffering.
Isn’t that what Christ did… suffer in love… for us?
Is there someone you love so much that… if they were to suffer, you’d want to suffer with them?