And he [Herod] sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. ~ Matthew 14:10-14
Many years ago, a back-country woman in Florida received news that her son had been killed in the war. Shortly thereafter, she was seen hoeing in her garden.
“It just isn’t fitting,” chided a neighbor who thought it was inappropriate to be gardening instead of grieving.
“Friend,” said Effie Mae, “I know you mean well, but Jim rejoiced to see green things growing because it meant that his mother and the young ones would be eating. This is his hoe, and when I’m hoeing I can almost feel his big, strong hands under mine and hear his voice saying, ‘That’s good, Mom, that’s good.’ Working is the only headstone I can give him.”
Jesus also suffered the pain of grief when He was told of the death of John the Baptist, but it didn’t deter Him from His work. After a brief period of solitude (Matthew 14:13), His great compassion led Him to heal the sick and to feed the multitude of 5,000.
Is your heart broken today? Does life seem empty? Do you feel like giving up? There is hope in the Master’s example. Take up whatever duties lie before you. Dedicate them to God. Refuse the luxury of self-pity. Do something to lift the burdens of others. Remember how Jesus handled His sorrow; He’ll strengthen you to do the same.
There is a destiny that makes us brothers:
None goes his way alone;
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back into our own. —Markham
To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own. —Lincoln