Last night I was blessed to lead the people of Meadow in a study revolving around the compassion of God. Frankly, life has been cruel to some who were present last night. Meadow is no syrupy-sweet church filled with painless people. All of us have stories which involve a few chapters of personal suffering so I thought it might be healthy for us to remember together that God is not some distant deity, tucked away in the farthest corner of Heaven and preoccupied with anything other than…us. Pain is such a reality of living on earth that even God’s Son was not spared from experiencing it. Jesus, who certainly deserved nothing but honor and blessing, suffered intensely. Yet, while God does not insulate us from pain, He does bring a triumphant recovery to anyone who will receive it from His gracious hand. Remember these verses with me:
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:8-14
God is under no illusions about the limits we sense within us. He really does know what we can bear and what we cannot. When we struggle and suffer, God does not simply communicate orders to us from a distance – He enters into our experience with us and literally feels our pain. I am a firm believer that He offers us each a remedy that will outweigh in blessing what the struggle costs us in pain. In the end, we will be forever delivered from the experience of and the potential for further suffering. Until then, God is wise and wants us to harness our personal pain and meet the needs of others who travel the same road we travel, only they are coming behind us. Do not waste your pain. As our Father is compassionate, so will His children be. May God purpose our struggles to pay dividends in the lives of others who also suffer. God, help us to look beyond ourselves when trouble shows up at our address. Help us to think of our neighbor. Here are some ways to do this today and every day which follow. Using your pain lessens your pain. Trust me, I know.
Has God ever shown compassion to you when you stood in need of a healing touch?
Volunteer to become the one He uses in the life of another who needs the same.
Has God ever shown compassion on you when you struggled with unbelief and battled something you could not defeat on your own?
Listen patiently to others and become the one He uses to encourage them as they battle their own doubts.
Has God ever ministered compassion to you when you were stricken with the deepest grief?
Do not hesitate to commit to become the one He uses to comfort those who are grieving in that same way today. Grieving people need the presence of those who have grieved.
Has God ever shown compassion to you when you were experiencing shame for your personal failures?
You can commit to become one of the rare people who carries the message of grace and forgiveness to those who are feeling the weight of their own shame.
Has God ever shown compassion to you when you were a shepherdless sheep, lost in a crowd of others?
Become the one who seeks out others who also are lost sheep, struggling to find the way.
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