September 19, 2023

Crying, Compassion, and Church at the End of My Hospital Bed

Written by Shana Schutte

The gift of compassion is free.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 19, 2023

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

A couple of days after my husband and I checked into Oasis of Hope Hospital for my cancer treatment, one of my mornings started out as a crying day but ended up being a comforting day when I felt wrapped in the arms of Jesus through two new friends.

As part of the standard protocol at the hospital where my “earth suit” was being treated, every patient receives at least one massage during their stay. Wednesday was my lucky day, but rather than sigh in relief with each touch of the massage therapist’s hands, I cried. It felt as if with every push or stroke on my back, the young woman working on me was pushing tears out of my heart.

Grief. Overwhelm. Sadness. Fear. Any ounce of fragile, human emotions I possessed were pushed out of my inner being and ended up on the cement floor in a puddle directly below my face. When the massage was over, I stood and dressed and cried some more. I shuffled out of the massage room, hugged my young therapist and told her thank you for caring for me. Then, I shuffled past the nurse’s station with my head hung down while more tears came. I couldn’t stop them. So much overwhelm can be a part of this cancer journey, even while I cling to my faith.

I entered my hospital room where my husband sat working on his computer at a small, round table. When he saw me, he stopped. “What’s wrong?” he gently asked. “I just feel overwhelmed. It’s just a lot,” I said.

An unexpected diagnosis just three weeks earlier. I’m having a hard time breathing. My left leg is in pain. My right arm isn’t working the way it did before my recent surgery to remove a tumor from my elbow. I sobbed.

Just then a compassionate patient named Lynn peered in through our open door as she walked by. “What’s going on?” she asked. “Are you okay?”

I told her I felt overwhelmed. A recent cancer diagnosis feels like a lot. It hurts even while there are blessings. Of course, it’s not a path I would have chosen even though I expect to be fully healed.

As Lynn talked with me, I looked straight into her eyes. My soul was thirsty for some comfort. She reminded me that Jesus is with me. She told me that I could rest in the Lord and let Him fight for me. I needed this reminder because I was tired.

Just then, another patient entered my room and we had church at the end of my hospital bed. She told me she “got it.” “Oh boy. Have I had some overwhelm days” she said. She told me that this was all new for me and I should just let myself feel all the feelings.

Both of these lovely ladies identified with my emotions and fears because they know firsthand what it’s like to be me. Sometimes, we may think that a small word of encouragement is small. But for a hurting heart, it can be just the kind of lifesaver they need in a moment when they feel like they are drowning in sorrow.

This gift of compassion is free. It costs nothing to give but simply taking the time to notice what someone is experiencing. And when you notice, they will feel wrapped in the arms of Jesus, just like I felt His purposeful and personal comfort when these two lovely ladies took the time to minister to me and have church at the foot of my hospital bed.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).


Lord, please help me be mindful of others around me. Help me speak life-giving words to them to help lift their burdens and their hearts. Amen.


Put this devotional into practice today.

Related Reading

Colossians 3:12-13; Proverbs 19:17; Galatians 6:10

Worship Resource

Vineyard Worship: The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate


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