On a cold Thursday night in the winter of 1987, I received a devastating phone call. It was after the dinner hour, and I was giving the kids a bath before I put them in bed. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. One of my best friends, Vicki, who was also a secretary in the school office, had been in a car accident. Ricky was headed to their home to be with her husband who had just gotten the news. He told me to quickly drive there as well and pick up their young boys, Gabe and Dusty.

Vicki went home to heaven that night, as we tried to offer comfort to her small, hurting family. We prayed and cried with them throughout the next weeks and months.

Going back to school was going to be tough for those precious little guys. My heart went out to them as they finally made their way to their classes. The other children had heard of the tragedy. I’m sure they pondered what it would be like to lose their own mothers.

As Gabe slowly entered his classroom, the teacher stopped her work and went over to welcome him back. The other students began to walk in the door, one by one, stopped to glance at him, then busied themselves with their book bags or seatwork. It was very awkward. They had never experienced anything like this before and didn’t know how to respond.

The teacher was trying to decide how to prompt loving behavior when a red headed, freckle-faced student named Benji ambled into the room. He noticed that everyone was extremely quiet and wondered what was going on when he spotted Gabe. Immediately dropping his books, Benji headed straight to his side of the class. The other students stopped what they were doing to watch as Benji threw his arms around a startled Gabe and gave him a big bear hug. Then, one by one, each child got up, fell into a disorganized line, and did the same. There were no words or tears, just an impromptu display of love.

I’m sure things quickly got back to normal with the usual scuffles and competitive rows. But for that moment, in the classroom, those children loved their buddy, and he felt it. It’s normal for adults to reach out to the hurting in situations like this. We naturally care for our friends. But for children, you just don’t always see this response. That’s what made it so beautiful.

We as adults do need to be reminded to care for others that we don’t naturally think about. The writer of Hebrews tells us to “let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body” (Hebrews 13:1-3).

I keep a prayer journal to help me remember to pray for the needs of my family, friends, church staff, leaders of our country, missionaries, etc. But I sometimes forget to add the nameless people who are suffering, people I don’t really know and will never meet until we are in heaven. Sitting at my sturdy kitchen table in air conditioning with food in the pantry, it’s easy to focus on my little circle. But I know that believers in our country and around the world don’t have it as good. In fact, some are being tormented for their faith.

Recently someone sent me a book Hearts of Fire from the Voice of the Martyrs. In reading it, my eyes were opened to the modern day horrors of Christians who are enduring intense suffering because of their beliefs. I have also been made aware in recent days of the hurt and pain that many of our brothers and sisters right here in our country are going through.

In caring for others, we are not only obeying God’s Word, but we are honoring Him by loving His children.