Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18
Last summer I remember checking on my sleeping 20 month old at around 12:30am (yes, I was still up!) The temperature in the room drastically dropped, and I discovered that my daughter had curled herself into a tiny ball, trying to keep herself warm with only a thin onesie on and her favorite blanket tightly tucked under her chest like a plush teddy bear.
I touched her skin, and she was freezing. Miniature goosebumps covered her body. I also realized that her diaper had leaked; soaking her shirt and the sheet she slept on, making her even colder. I immediately scooped her up, changed her soggy diaper, put on a clean onesie, pants, socks, and a long-sleeve shirt (all in her drowsy slumber).
I then grabbed a heavier blanket and laid it on top of her as she rested peacefully on my chest. I relished this precious moment, holding her close, allowing the warmth of my body to transfer to hers. Then my eyes filled with tears. What I had done to my daughter was a beautiful picture of what our Abba Father has done for us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him… Psalm 103:13
I saw my little girl’s need and felt nothing but love and compassion for her. I stepped in for her and did what she could not do for herself.
And so it is with us.
God scooped us out of our shivering, soiled mess and rescued us from the pit of sin and shame we wallowed in. We were uncovered. Unprotected. Cold, alone, and completely helpless. But he looked down on us with compassion.
He changed our filthy garments of sin and clothed us in the warmth of his love and grace. Jesus changed our filthy garments of sin and clothed us in the warmth of his love and grace.
He holds us close to him and calls us his beloved children.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love… Psalm 103:8
Throughout the gospel accounts Jesus looked upon the suffering and marginalized around him with love and compassion.
- When Jesus saw the crowds of 4,000 and 5,000 he had compassion on them, healed the sick, and fed them (Matt 15:32; Matt 14:14).
- He looked on the two blind men with compassion and healed them (Matt 20:34).
- He felt compassion for the man with leprosy and touched him, bringing about his complete healing (Mark 1:40).
Christ’s compassion for humanity always led to action. He saw their needs and met them with love, dignity and justice. He demonstrated the fullness of his love and compassion by taking our place and suffering on our behalf. His compassion for us ultimately led him to the cross.
As you perform your duties and run your errands today, don’t forget to look around you. Do you see someone in need His magnificent salvation? This world is saturated with suffering souls in need of his grace.
Paul gives us this charge:
Clothe yourselves with compassion… Colossians 3:12
Since we are clothed with the garments of God’s amazing love and salvation, we are now called to look at others through the same lens of his compassion.
Let his compassion lead you to action.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was in need of clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:34-36
Serving others with God’s love is like washing the very feet of Jesus himself. So feed his sheep. Clothe his flock. This is not prideful, self-righteous pity, but heart-felt sorrow for the suffering plight of others. Put on your garments of compassion today, and propel others forward into his kingdom. There, we will all forever be covered in his grace.
Clothed in his love. Crowned with his compassion.
Praise the Lord, O my soul…who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion… Psalm 103:4
In what ways is God calling you to “put on” compassion?