Abraham Lincoln visited the Union hospital at City Point, Virginia the first part of April, 1865. He felt compassion for the wounded; held their hands, wept over their wounds and bade them a quick recovery. War Years IV, 186.
Then-British Commander-in-chief Douglas Haig in WWI couldn’t visit his wounded because it made him “physically ill.” French Commander Joseph Joffre in the same war couldn’t visit his wounded. If he did, he averred, he wouldn’t order the attacks he felt necessary. First World War, 221. In WWII, Hitler once watched from his train as wounded German troops passed by on the way to hospitals. He pulled down the shade.
Then there’s Jesus. No one ever demanded more of disciples than Jesus of his. However…indeed, however, he never demanded what he hadn’t first modeled. If he sent his believers into danger, he led them with a “Come on, boys!” He never stayed behind telling them to “Go on boys!” If he told us to love our enemies, he already had; or to associate with those who didn’t like us, he already did; or to live in self-denial, he already perfected the practice.
Human leaders can be like President Lincoln, making hard choices but following up their men with compassion for paying the price of their decisions. More often, they’re like Haig, Joffre and Hitler, demanding sacrifice for those in their charge while remaining callous about human life.
Christians serve a Lord who commands what’s necessary in spiritual warfare, then works with us as we serve, equipping and inspiring our discipleship. When wounded physically, or mentally, or emotionally, or spiritually, he’s always available for a house call—a life-call—to succor the needy, the harmed, the despairing disciple.