Two different books… two different scriptures… one word.
My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.-Hosea 11:8
Theses scriptures reveal something about God’s character. Merriam-Webster defines compassion as sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Empathy is the identifying with how someone feels… sharing in the pain. Compassion is the desire to fix the problem and take away the pain.
Let me explain a little further. Empathy is when those of us born and raised in the south say, “Well bless their hearts.” I have a shorter version, “Bless ’em.” I do mean it. I want God to bless those suffering or in trouble, but I myself am not planning to do anything about it. After all for the most part those troubles I witness I have no power to fix anyway. And when I’ve tried… well let’s just save that story for another time.
Honestly, I’m not a good sympathizer. My husband and family will tell you I’m the nurse from Hades. When you’re sick around my house, for the most part you’re on your own. Thank goodness my better half is much more compassionate when it comes to illness than I am or I’m certain my children would be damaged for life.
There are moments I’m moved to compassion for others. Just last week I read a testimony written by a preacher who went to see the reality of human trafficking throughout the world. Last night I watched a special on the conditions of starving children in a country across the globe. I was sickened by the information and wanted desperately to do something… but what? What could I do to make a difference?
Both books I’m reading (Yes I read more than one book at a time. Drives my sweet mama crazy.) point to God’s compassion for His people. Isn’t Jesus the perfect picture of compassion? God limiting himself in the flesh of a human to better identify with our condition. He experienced temptation, pain, rejection and suffering to alleviate ours. It has become clear to me… Jesus is God’s compassion.
Do you hear them? The words of one of my favorite songs drifting through the air…
Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.