So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. And in the morning, I did as I was commanded. – Ezekiel 24:18
The life of an Old Testament prophet was not an easy one. Often maligned, rejected, and persecuted, they were required to carry the worst of news to the most rebellious of hearers. It was often rare for such a prophet to witness any lasting repentance or change among those whom God placed in their path. And if this were not enough, they also had to deal with the daily crises of life on earth.
Ezekiel brought God’s message in the morning, lost his wife that evening, and then got back to God’s business the next morning. In a 21st century American context, it is difficult to imagine such will, such surrender, such determination, but there it is. When one surveys the life of Ezekiel, this loss rarely enters the discussion, yet it was surely one he suffered, likely all alone.
Dr. Jimmy Draper once told me, “Be nice to everybody, because everybody is hurting.” When you encounter others (neighbors, co-workers, even acquaintances), it is sometimes hard to remember that they lead normal lives apart from their encounters with you. Yet, they do, and those lives can sometimes be just as painful as your own. Compassion is a precious commodity these days. Why not extend a little today.
The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in time of crisis. – Thurgood Marshall