A young couple in their 40s strolled through the grocery store, picking up some things they needed. They were holding hands, walking slowly as if they were in a romantic park. Yet, most of the customers who encountered them in the store were terribly bothered that this slow-moving husband and wife wouldn’t just hurry up and get out of the way.
Finally, a young businessman dressed in a fine suit brashly said to them, “Excuse me, but don’t you realize you are annoying all the customers; hurry it up a little, or shop when the store is empty.” The man kindly turned to the businessman and said, “My wife was just diagnosed with terminal cancer, and this is our last time to shop for our family’s Thanksgiving feast; in fact, this is our last holiday season together.”
This couple endured harsh, impatient criticism because most forms of cancer are unnoticeable and most suffering or grief is kept concealed. As a result, prideful judgment intensified their anguish—just because the cadence of this husband and wife’s life was slowing, soon to stop altogether.
Personally, each of my children, including Jon, and I struggle with unnoticeable disabilities. We may look like a typical family, but we have great challenges and regularly encounter others’ assumptions, impatience, and criticisms and are considered problematic and perturbing—an interruption and inconvenience to others.
Jesus Christ modeled the best way to deal with troubles.
Though He came to save the world, He never seemed pressed for time. He walked, He listened, He bent low to help the lame, He reached out to help the sick, and He looked up to honor God. He taught profound lessons through short stories, He never counted how many people came to see Him, He refused to compromise, and He was never intimidated by those who found Him to be a problem, an inconvenience, slow, a waste of time, or weird. Most likely, Christ’s appearance wasn’t much different than other people’s. But He was thoroughly different because of His great love and gift of grace.
May our lives be marked by grace.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8–10)
This next week, if you become bothered by a slow driver, an absent-minded teen, or someone appearing sluggish or perhaps confused, remember: their suffering or pain may be incomprehensible. Before declaring that person “in the way” or “so irritating,” be full of grace! By grace, we are saved and healed.
Question: Have you ever experienced what this couple did? You can leave a comment by clicking here.