“They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145:7-9)
Have you ever found yourself in the belly of a great fish? Or maybe in the middle of a lion’s den or a fiery furnace? How about clinging to the deck of a ship that’s being tossed around in a storm or breaking up against a rocky reef? Have you ever gone into the blazing desert with your mother and crawled under a bush to cry and wait until you starved or thirsted to death?
Have you ever gotten stuck in a cave with a half-crazy king who has been trying to kill you for no good reason? Or have you ever watched a loved one die an early death, knowing Someone might have healed him? Have you ever gotten caught and tried for a horrible crime you did not really commit? Have you ever been disabled in an accident or been forced to beg for food and shelter? Have you ever found yourself left all alone with no one who will claim you as a friend or stand by you or rescue you?
Hopefully, none of those things have ever happened. Hopefully, you will never find yourself in a situation like any of the above. But if you ever do, remember the God of the Bible. Because the Bible tells us stories of people who did find themselves in those situations. And one reason the Bible shares these stories is that God wants to show us what He is like.
God is the kind of God Who shows compassion. He is the kind of God Who listens to repentant sinners and saves them out of their own trouble, because salvation belongs to Him. Using almost the same language as Psalm 145:7-9, the prophet Jonah tells the reason why he prayed to God from where he was trapped in the belly of the great fish: “For I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Jonah 4:2a). Jonah was being punished for his sinfulness and rebellion, but he called upon God anyway, because he had reason to believe that God would show him compassion and mercy.
Are you in a difficult situation? Do you think nobody cares? If there are people who care, do you wonder whether there is even anything they could do to help? In times like that, it is important to “preach to yourself” what the Bible reveals about the character and works of God: He is compassionate. He takes pity on us in our weakness, in our fear, in our sorrows, in our hardships, in our starving, in our persecution, in our grief, in our loss, in our confusion. In fact, no one else could show you the kind of compassion and lovingkindness that the LORD can – because He is the LORD. If it is true compassion that you need, then it is the LORD that you need.
God cares for our needs, and He shows perfect compassion.
» Have I ever been in a situation that was too hard for me to bear?
» Does God care, or is He even aware, about the times when I need Him most?
» How can I be compassionate toward others like the LORD is compassionate with me?