God Is Teaching Me Compassion
I can’t say that I have it down. I’m not very good at it. Oh, I have all the standard outward responses to a problem.
“That’s too bad.”
“I’ll pray for you.”
“Wow! That must have left a mark!”
But the problem is that what is needed is much more than just an outward response. What is needed is a heart response.
Compassion = a feeling of deep sympathy or sorrow for another who is going through troubles or trials. The word literally means “to suffer together.”
So we are called to have compassion, to be compassionate. This cannot be in word only. It has to come in word and in deed.
“And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” (Exodus 2:5–6, AV)
The Pharaoh’s daughter felt sorry for the child. But more than that, she did something about it. She acted on her feelings. She adopted this little baby. Moses was at the mercy of Pharaoh’s edict to kill all of the Hebrew baby boys. The daughter of Pharaoh took this opportunity to do what was right and what was needed.
Moses’ suffering was alleviated because of the selfless act of an Egyptian princess. Granted it was not a great sacrifice for her to do it. She hired Moses’ mother to nurse him. She had attendants and servants and all kinds of help. Still she did what she could for a helpless little one who could not do for himself.
And that is what we are called to do as well. It is not about what we cannot do. It is all about what we can do. I want to encourage you to suffer together with those who are in need.
God is teaching me compassion – not the feeling but what it means to act and alleviate suffering. It means that I have to deny myself. I have to give up something. I have to surrender something.
Job’s friends came to commiserate with him. They sat there for seven days in silence. But after Job spoke it became very clear they were not there to suffer together with him. They were there to analyze and criticize and critique his problem and tell him everything he had done wrong. That wasn’t what Job needed.
Our greatest example of compassion is Jesus. “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, AV)
Jesus suffered together with those people. In fact, He went beyond that. He suffered for them. We are called to follow in His steps. Will you have compassion? Will you suffer with those who cannot help themselves?
It may be in ways that aren’t a great sacrifice; making a casserole for a foster family, going to the Walk for Life, sharing the Gospel with a lost friend, going on our mission trip this summer. It could be a great sacrifice that He calls you to. Whatever God puts before you and asks you to do, do it with all your heart. Do it as unto the least of these. Suffer together with that person and for that person. Jesus will be glorified and you will be blessed.
Bro. Tim Hobbs