“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love.” Psalms 103:8 CSB
This Psalm of David tells of God’s character and the “benefits” of fearing the LORD. The LORD is forgiving, our redeemer, faithful in love, gives good things, renews our youth, is righteous and just. This week the word compassion caught my attention. It doesn’t seem to be used much anymore.
Compassion comes from the Latin “campati” which means “to suffer with.” Compassion is more than pity or sympathy or even empathy. Compassion requires action. When we suffer, God’s compassion confirms that He suffers with us. Our pain is His pain. Our loss is His loss. Our suffering is His suffering. God is not only with us, but He suffers with us, right alongside of us. Caring for us by giving us His strength, His presence, and His peace. God’s takes our suffering upon Himself and gifts us all that we need.
As I read this verse, I have to admit I immediately thought of the three friends in Job. The three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, when they heard all that had happened, came to Job. In their compassion for Job, they wept, tore their clothes, and threw dust in the air and on their heads. They sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights without speaking. They simply suffered with their friend by coming and being with him. They were compassionate. (Although we all know that once the speaking started, there wasn’t as much compassion.)
Ruth had compassion for her mother-in-law, Naomi, and stayed with her. Jesus had compassion on the five thousand followers and fed them. Joseph showed compassion for his brothers when they came to Egypt for food. Dorcas in Acts showed compassion for the widows and the poor as she provided for their needs. I’m sure you can think of many other examples.
This week consider both when you have been shown compassion and when you have felt and demonstrated compassion for others. Consider that in your suffering, God suffers with you, and provides His love and comfort and peace. And because of your suffering you can be compassionate to others suffering in similar situations. You can shine the light of God’s compassion for others.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we explore not only God’s compassion but examine our compassion toward others. Thank you, LORD, for your compassion!
Blessings and joy as you shine compassion for others!