When you’re going through the crushing weight of physical, mental, or spiritual distress, you’ll receive two kinds of compassion and consolation from people. You’ll hear sympathetic, sensitive words from friends who really do care, but have never gone through what you’re experiencing. But then there are the empathetic words of those who have lived through what you are currently enduring. These wise words ring true with encouragement and reassurance that… Yes, God is still there and with His love and compassion you’ll make it through.
During the very darkest time of my life I would read Psalm 86 in its entirety out loud every morning. I was alone, isolated from friends and family, and in the middle of a very violent relationship. I felt hopeless, helpless and totally alone. As I read these words out loud, I could almost hear David reminding himself that the Lord was near. And as he recalled all of God’s attributes…His great love, His mercy, compassion, and faithfulness, I too would be reminded of them and what God had done for me. And in the end, just like David, this Psalm gave me the strength and courage to endure for one more day.
What was King Solomon looking for when he gave such a bizarre and brutal order? Before him were two prostitutes seeking justice…both claiming this baby was theirs. On hearing his order, one agreed with it…while the other, filled with compassion for the child, said, “Please my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” That was the visceral reaction King Solomon was looking for…and he gave the baby to that mother. Our God has that same kind of deep compassion towards us. For He looks upon us as a father looks upon his children…with mercy, tenderness and pity.
In these verses, Jeremiah is looking over the utter destruction of Jerusalem…overwhelmed by the suffering of the people…and realizing it was because of their sin that God had allowed it. But Jeremiah also knew of God’s tremendous capacity for compassion towards His people. For in Isaiah 54: 7-8 God says, ” For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” Never underestimate God’s compassion to change any situation from dire to miraculous.
Even when we’re not thinking about Him, God is still thinking about us. He is continually adding to and filling us with His loving kindness and mercy…even times when we don’t really deserve it. And God’s steadfastness towards us often puts to shame the poor example of trust we have of Him. For regardless of how often we’re mindful of Him…God is always thinking about us.
Our relationship with God does not revolve around one spiritual experience we once had. Nor is it about second-hand stories we’ve heard about God. No, our journey with the Lord is an ever growing, ever changing personal relationship with our Heavenly Father…being renewed daily in mind, body, and spirit. Psalm 85:6 tells us, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Today that would be my prayer also…Revive us again, O Lord, for Your glory!
This verse starts out with the words, “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord”. The Hebrew word for “tell” here has two definitions – the first being to remember or reflect upon, the second being to declare or proclaim. When we stop and reflect upon just how much the Lord has done for us…how many good things He has provided…how merciful and kind He has been towards us – how can we not want to share with others this love? Ephesians 2:4 tells us, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” It is only by that unwarranted, unmerited love of God you are the person you are today through Him.