And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. —1 Corinthians 12:26 NKJV

When I was sixteen, our family was “adopted” by a man named Darcy. Every weekday around noon Darcy sauntered into my mother’s store and bought a bag of buttered popcorn. He made small talk with her and purposed to connect with our family at least once a week. Being a single mom of three, my mother jumped at Darcy’s offers to take my little brother to the lake or on play dates with Darcy’s own ten-year-old son, Travis. Travis was bright, energetic, and always happy. His mop of brown curls crowned his smiling, freckled face. I loved being around him and his family because they were loving and compassionate. They prayed for us, had us over for dinner, and showed us life had purpose, and that gave me hope.

Tragically, when Travis was a senior in high school, tall, handsome, and still full of joy, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. At that time, I was a nonbeliever, and I simply did not know how to mourn with them. I was married and pregnant with our first son, but I didn’t reach out. Nevertheless, I was able to see the grace with which they endured their loss—and it was striking. They still had hope even in the suffering, and they didn’t suffer alone. The same people who cheered their children on at soccer games and golf tournaments, who prayed with them and for them throughout their lives, were there to mourn with them in their loss. Through it all, they never lost hope. They always loved well.

So … what does it mean to suffer and rejoice together as believers? 1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that as Christ followers, we are to become compassionate cheerleaders. Unfortunately, too often we can act more like jealous siblings than encouraging sisters. Do you, like me, sometimes question whether God knows what He’s doing? Perhaps when someone underserving is honored or when someone “good” suffers, you might ask “why?” Could it be that God knows best regarding the future, knows what might glorify Him and bring people to a saving faith?Considering the 1 Corinthians metaphor that believers are “one body,” reveals the heart of God. He is a friend. He sacrifices for us and even celebrates with us. If we are to live His life, we too must be those who suffer and rejoice as one. Not only that, but we must also be vulnerable and open when we are the ones suffering or rejoicing. Letting people into our world—as difficult as it has been since COVID—is essential to living our lives for Jesus. Visit the hospital, pray, invite your neighbor over for coffee, celebrate milestones, and grieve with those God has gifted you to do life with, because there is something holy about this all-for-one-living. When we act as one, Jesus is revealed in the Church. The warmth of Christ’s love melts icy hearts. I am living proof.

Father, I pray that we become more and more like Christ in the one-body living You call us to. Open our eyes to ways we can celebrate with each other. Give us compassion and courage to suffer together as well. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and
peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Marlene McKenna



Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Thanks Marlene. Isn’t it wonderful to have been gifted with those kinds of people in our lives!

  • Margaret Fowler
    February 21, 2022 1:41 pm

    Beautiful message in this story, Thank you. I have been so thankful
    for compassion and love in times of suffering. And I hope I can
    be the same for others.

  • Thank you for this reminder that there is always someone we can reach
    out to in Godly love no matter what may be going on in our
    lives. I pray to be able to think more about others and extend
    Christ – like love to them.


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