If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26
In 2013, seventy-year-old James McConnell, a British Royal Marine veteran, died. McConnell had no family, and staff from his nursing home feared no one would attend his funeral. A man tapped to officiate McConnell’s memorial service posted a Facebook message: “In this day and age it is tragic enough that anyone has to leave this world with no one to mourn their passing, but this man was family. . . . If you can make it to the graveside . . . to pay your respects to a former brother in arms, then please try to be there.” Two hundred Royal Marines packed the pews!
These British compatriots exhibited a biblical truth: we’re tied to one another. “The body is not made up of one part, but of many,” Paul says (1 Corinthians 12:14). We’re not isolated. Just the opposite: we’re bound in Jesus. Scripture reveals organic interconnection: “If one member suffers, all the members suffer” (v. 26 nasb). As believers in Jesus, members of God’s new family, we move toward one another into the pain, into the sorrow, into those murky places where we would fear to go alone. But thankfully we do not go alone.
Perhaps the worst part of suffering is when we feel we’re drowning in the dark all by ourselves. God, however, creates a new community that suffers together. A new community where no one should be left in the dark.
When have you felt most alone? How does God’s grace, kindness, and friendship help you deal with loneliness?
Is it true, God? Have You really placed me in a new community that knows and loves me in my suffering? Help me to believe this.
To learn more about suffering, visit ChristianUniversity.org/CA211.
In 1 Corinthians 12:14–26, Paul uses the imagery of the human body as a picture of the family of believers, the church. In Ephesians 1:22–23, the apostle again uses the body to portray the church, but this time with an important addition. Jesus Himself is the Head of that body. The illustration that works so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 12 takes on added clarity with the reminder that the body works, moves, and functions under the leadership and guidance of the Head.