"When I Come Back"

January 17, 2014

by Alexis Harrison, Project Information Coordinator at Samaritan's Purse

Alexis Harrison, project information coordinator at Samaritan's Purse, reflects on the Southern Alberta Restoration Project, the story of the Good Samaritan, and what it means to be longsuffering.

It seems to me that Jesus leaves a fill-in-the-blank at the end of the story of the Good Samaritan, where readers can only imagine what happened next:

“And the next day [the Good Samaritan] took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back’” (Luke 10: 35, ESV).

‘When I come back…’ as I mull the words over in my mind, I wonder what happened when the Good Samaritan returned. Did he and the man whose life he saved continue to journey together through life someway, somehow? Did the Samaritan persist in helping the man along the road to full recovery? Did he accompany him on the way back home, so as to protect him from other unexpected calamities?

The word that floats to the surface as I reflect on the Good Samaritan ‘coming back’ is ‘longsuffering.'  Not only did he react swiftly to the emergency that was the man dying in the ditch; he also promised to return when able, to check in on the man's progress after some time had passed, and to reimburse his caregivers whatever the cost.

So it is, I feel, with one of our latest initiatives: the Southern Alberta Restoration Project. Last summer, Samaritan's Purse and our volunteers reacted swiftly to the emergency that was thousands of families affected by flooding. Like the Good Samaritan, we poured healing wine and oil on people's wounds by mudding out their homes, tearing down ruined drywall and insulation, and spraying disinfectant to stave off mold.

But the serious nature of many of their injuries requires that Samaritan's Purse, our volunteers, and partner churches are longsuffering. To me, the Southern Alberta Restoration Project is the 'coming back' if you will of the Good Samaritan, months after the emergency is over, to help families repair their homes and recover fully after suffering long.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23, 25, NKJV).

And since we live by the Spirit, let's keep time with Him - when He moves fast, yes, but also when He moves a long time alongside the suffering.