God’s Abounding Compassion
Late one evening, Anna and her husband Eli were driving home from a game. The light drizzle of rain was turning to sleet as they turned onto their road. Their headlights illuminated a man walking on the shoulder. Eli steered a little farther away to give him more space, but Anna grabbed her husband’s arm and told him to stop. They did and then got out. The man barely noticed they had stopped as he trudged forward, head stooped down to keep the sleet from hitting his face. They saw that the man’s shoes were practically falling off of his feet. They could see that he had no socks on and the exposed parts of his feet were beat up badly.
Anna asked where he was headed and he answered, “Nowhere in particular.” She asked why he was out walking right then and he answered, “I have nowhere else to be.” Anna could hardly choke back her tears. They took him to their home, let him take a hot shower, dressed him in some of Eli’s clothes, and got to talking. They learned that in a series of misfortunate events, the man had lost everything. He was alone because he had no family left. He had been laid off of work and could no longer make ends meet. The bank foreclosed on his mortgage and evicted him and repossessed his car. He hadn’t had a proper meal in over a month.
They discovered the man was rather intelligent, but because of everything that had cascaded through his life, he was depressed and unsure of what to do. They also discovered that he did not know Jesus Christ, so they shared His love with him. The man stayed with them for a little while. They let him use their house as if it were his own. They drove him to job interviews and everything in between. Then one day, he vanished. His bed sheets and towels were washed, folded, and placed neatly on the bed. The clothes he had borrowed were cleaned and next to them. A note was placed on top of it all that said: “Thank you for everything. I found a great job thanks to you. I appreciate everything and hope to pay it back one day.” The only thing missing was Anna’s Bible the man had asked to borrow to read. They never saw the man again, but they weren’t upset. They knew the man had accepted the love of Jesus Christ into his life.
Compassion is defined as the feeling of deep sympathy towards someone who is experiencing misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. In this world filled with cruelty and discontent, true compassion is seldom experienced. Most people don’t possess the level of selflessness that true compassion requires. In our society, our accomplishments and abilities are the basis of how much we are loved and respected by others. But God is not of this world, so He doesn’t love us based on those worldly views; rather, He loves us unconditionally. We should aim to change ourselves to be more compassionate to those around us.
“’Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord, your Redeemer. ‘This is like the days of Noah to Me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and My covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:4–10).
Our Heavenly Father is steadfast and immovable. His compassion for us is more certain than anything else. His compassion goes hand-in-hand with His grace and mercy. “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8). God’s compassion for you is not the result of what you do, but instead is the result of His boundless love for you. God’s love is not founded on the notion of our works. God’s love is founded on His unconditional compassion and love for us all.
God’s compassion and love for us is what moved Him to send His only Son, Jesus, to His death on the cross to defeat sin and the devil once and for all. God’s compassion and love for us is what moved Him to raise Jesus from the dead to defeat death once and for all.