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The Healing Touch of Compassion

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As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:13-14 NLT)

When news of my grandmother’s passing reached me, the feeling of loss weighed down on me. She had lived a long and exemplary life, leaving this world peaceably at 95. Still, the heaviness of loss enveloped me, and I knew I needed to turn to the solace of my heavenly Father.

When Jesus learned of the death of His friend and ministry forerunner, John the Baptist, He sought the calm, consoling arms of His Father. He retreated by boat to a quiet place. But before Jesus reached that coveted time alone with God, He was interrupted by crowds of needy people. As soon as He docked, He saw the people and ministered to them. Knowing Jesus and the grave news He had received earlier that day, the disciples motioned Jesus to “a remote place” and encouraged Him to “send the crowds away” (Matthew 14:15). He had such compassion that even amid immense loss, He was moved to feed the hungry masses, miraculously multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food for 5,000. Finally, sending the crowds and the disciples away, Jesus went up into the hills by himself to pray. (v. 23)

We read in the Gospels that Jesus often retreated to a solitary place to find inner healing (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:15-16; 6:12-13; Matthew 15:29). The restorative, undivided company of His Father was integral to His ministry. The ebb and flow of Jesus’ outreach entailed attending to the needs of the people, interspersed by periods of quiet in God’s renewing presence. These moments with the Father recharged Jesus, invigorating Him for powerful, compassionate ministry.

The challenges and circumstances of life often weigh on us, depriving us of the energy to live and minister as we should. When we are weighed down by loss or the rigors of daily life, we always have a safe place to lay our burdens down. In the company of our heavenly Father, we find healing so that we, in turn, can extend God’s healing to a world in need.

Father, today I come to the foot of the cross of Jesus, whose atoning sacrifice has accomplished forgiveness and healing for me for all time. Renew me in Your presence so I might extend Your compassion to those around me. 


Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About The Author

Dr. Paul Palma
Dr. Paul J.

Dr. Paul J. Palma is a Regent University professor and the author of three books, including Embracing Our Roots: Rediscovering the Value of Faith, Family, and Tradition. He’s also a worship leader, husband, and father of three who enjoys spending time with his family on walks, trips to the beach, and reading.

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