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Viewpoint from Pastor Michael Walker

Pastor Michael Walker PASTOR M WALKER
Minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Great Yarmouth

The Compassion of Christ

It was Maltbe Babcock who said that it is far better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings counting your troubles! How often do we count our blessings? If we did, it might surprise us, as the old hymn says, “What God hath done”! Our troubles are frequently brought into perspective by more traumatic events in the world. 
viewpoints cross logo jpegSome might call it righteous indignation but it makes my blood boil when, for example, I learn about terrible atrocities in the Congo or the injustice of a tyrannical Zimbabwian dictator. The latest, as I write this article, is the apparent reluctance and delay of the ruling junta to allow international aid into Burma. The horrific disaster caused by Cyclone Nargis has claimed a death toll of at least 22,000 lives with over 41,000 unaccounted for, and displaced over 1 million people. 
We can at least pray for the victims in these countries. If only we could help alleviate the suffering and rebuild lives. When we hear the news bulletin that aid is ready and waiting but is being restrained from entering Burma, we despair.  However my heart was warmed when I received an email from ADRA-UK (Adventist Development & Relief Agency) with an urgent appeal to our churches for financial assistance to the ADRA-Myanmar office in Yangon who were already on the scene responding to the most critical needs.
This took me back to the Balkans War when I experienced atrocities in Croatia. The ADRA-Croatia Director and I prayed with a Catholic priest in his bombed out church. We wept with him as he related how the Chetniks had filled the church with canisters packed with explosives and blown it apart. Then he told us that an Adventist family in his village had hidden about a dozen of his parisuntitledhioners until the danger was past. Upon returning to Tyneside, hearts were stirred to help. A member of my church volunteered to drive a truck with aid. Immediate neighbours got involved. Then the local radio, Tyne-Tees TV and the press came on board. Before long, people were bringing food, clothing, cheques, and all sorts of provisions. They wanted to help but didn’t know how until they heard our plan to take trucks of aid out to the people. Several truck loads ended up on the road to the Balkans as a result. The compassion shown by those people was amazing.
We live in two worlds: there is a heartless one but there is also a compassionate one. We read in the Gospels how Christ, when seeing the multitudes, was moved with compassion. His heart went out to the sick and suffering, the bereaved, the poor, the hurting. He ministered to their needs. May we, like Jesus, lift up the world of compassion. Let us count our blessings and use the benefits we have for the blessing of others.