In this world, we treat suffering as a disease, as something that can and should be cured. And, as with other diseases, we tend to avoid those who are suffering as we do those who are sick. After all, it might be catching. We don’t want to get what they’ve got.
Take off your masks and get in there, neighbors. Suffering isn’t catching. You can take the hand of the afflicted without fear of transmission, though you might start to feel a little different. Compassion might stir within your gut, and you might cry a little. You might even find that you can no longer ignore all that’s happening around you. You might be moved to action, to cook a meal or mow a lawn. You might find yourself skipping your favorite show on NBC that night to sit with those in distress and read some Psalms.
Whatever happens, expect one thing: You will be moved to pray to God for mercy, because that is what has been given for us to do. We turn in faith to Him who has been merciful to us in Christ Jesus, and we trust in His good will for all of the saints, even the suffering ones.