Phillip Yancy notes in Chapter 19 (“The Rest of the Body”) of Where is God When It Hurts? that the healthiest human body is one that feels the pain of its weakest parts. The author’s friend and colleague, Dr. Paul Brand, applies this concept to the body of Christ:
“All of us rejoice at the harmonious working of the human body. Yet we can but sorrow at the relationship between men and women. In human society we are suffering because we do not suffer enough. So much of the sorrow in the world is due to the selfishness of one living organism that simply doesn’t care what the next one suffers.”
When Christians, the body of Christ, share the comfort they themselves have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:4-5), the love of Christ abounds. Phillip Yancey illustrates this with stories of 2 ALS sufferers.
Martha was diagnosed with ALS at age 26. In the previous 2 years, her father and uncle had died of the same disease. Martha’s ALD progressed rapidly. She fervently desired to live out the last 2 weeks of her life in her own apartment. A Christian community called Reba Place Fellowship provided 24/7 care during that time. Martha, who was determined to turn to God only out of love, not fear, experienced that love and was baptized shortly before her death.
In the second story, Norm, a well-known church musician, suffered from ALS for 7 years. Norm and his wife’s church friends provided material and spiritual support for that entire period. Norm’s wife concluded: “Love is not a strong-enough word to tell you how we feel about you.”