Overflowing with Compassion: Part 2
Are you ready for some good news?
God loves to restore because He is a Father who is full of compassion.
When the people of God were exiled in Babylon, God made a beautiful promise through His prophet Jeremiah:
“This is what the Lord says: “‘I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place.” (Jeremiah 30:18, NIV)
The promise of restoration flows from the Father’s heart of compassion. When the Lord assured that He would “have compassion upon his dwellings,” He was declaring the affections of His heart. To have compassion means to “feel with.” Though some of the great church Reformers wanted to argue that God is without feelings, and therefore not subject to the fickle whimsy of emotional ups and downs, the picture of scripture reveals a God who feels things intensely.
When Jesus came, He showed us what the heart of God looks like up close. “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”” (Matthew 14:14–15, ESV)
Even when Jesus was most tired and his human body was most in need of time away, Christ couldn’t keep from ministering because He had so much compassion for the hurting.
When Bennett was four or five years old, I repeatedly cautioned (and forbade) him from climbing on the brick retaining wall that stood four feet above our asphalt driveway. He disobeyed and, one day, slipped and fell, scraping his legs severely. With blood running down his legs and tears running down his cheeks, the little guy broke my heart as he repeatedly cried out, “I didn’t listen. I didn’t listen.”
As a father, I needed to teach him. Disobedience demands appropriate discipline. But discipline was, of course, the farthest thing from my mind. What was on my mind? His healing. My yearning to comfort completely transcended any instinct to correct. When you love deeply, compassion creates a huge longing for the one you love to experience healing and restoration. God loves to restore what has been broken or taken from you because He’s your Father and He’s full of compassion. And that’s the Gospel!
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