The Biblical Basis for “Paying it Forward”
My Aunt Frances died of cancer a few days before my college graduation. Anyone who’s experienced terminal illness – family or friends – can share how difficult life is without that person. Every birthday, every holiday, all those special jokes….eventually they bring on a smile of remembrance; but for awhile, all they bring are pain to the survivors.
I saw my cousin (Frances’ daughter) at a recent family gathering. She looked great, had a radiant smile, and the always infectious laugh. I’m so glad we had time to catch up – one on one – to share stories and give updates on our lives.
She’s a massage therapist now. She specializes in massage therapy for cancer and hospice patients. And she recently followed that passion to form her own practice, sharing her experiences with those who need her most.
Do you suspect, as I do, that her personal experiences with cancer give her an added perspective – a gentle ‘touch,’ if you will – for her clients? As she and I talked about her journey, I saw that this career helped her as much as it helped her patients. Almost as if she were comforting her mother, bringing them closer, with each therapeutic massage.
This is a story of 2 Corinthians 1:4 (The Message) in practice:
[God] comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, [God] brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
I know there are many of you out there going through hard times. We all have them; some more than others. I hope that you are able to feel God alongside you, bringing you comfort. Before long, God will place someone beside you who needs that same comfort. I pray that you, like my cousin, recognize it, so that you might share your journey with them.
That’s how we build community, one person at a time.