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Does God's Care about Our Suffering? (Y1.T1.D42) - Extra


Unsplash; "David Lowe"

 

Yes. In fact, human suffering draws compassion from God.


In our previous post, a leper came to Jesus—begging, kneeling, worshiping—and said, “If you want to, you can make me clean” (Mark 1:40). And today’s passages continue the narrative by telling us how Jesus was “moved with compassion” and stretched out his hand and touched the leper saying, “I want to . . .” (Mark 1:41).


These verses came to life for me this week. While my suffering was nowhere near that of an ostracized leper, I’d like to share how God’s compassion helped me heal.


Two days ago, a family member asked me to explain some lies my ex-husband told him the day before. My guess is my ex didn’t expect the words to reach me and said them to justify his behavior since we haven’t spoken for two years. Maybe the time gap should make it easy to let the mud slung in my direction slip off my back, but I haven’t yet reached emotional apathy for the man I loved for two decades. Like every other human, I desire the good opinion of others (see previous post for more information).


My first reaction was to want to defend myself against him, but experience had taught me that would only trigger more defensiveness from both sides.


The best way for me to address my residual emotions was to seek understanding from the Lord—my deliverer. So yesterday, as I looked out the window, God revealed an idea that helped me put this rejection into perspective.


I live in a sixth-floor apartment in downtown Baltimore, and while meditating with God about my pain, I glanced down at a pedestrian crossing the intersection. I didn’t know the person on the street below me. I didn’t know the woman next to him. Or the eight, ten, twelve others going about their daily lives.


What God compassionately whispered to me was that not one of them had any bad thoughts about me. None of them were tearing me down. And for every person in my life who threw insults in my direction, at least a billion more weren’t and had no desire to do so. A BILLION.


This merciful revelation dried my tears and helped me shake off the insults. Mud slipped off my back and to the earth where it belonged. This morning as I rose to write this blog, I found the ability to feel compassion for the mudslinger. They say hurt people hurt people. And now that I’m no longer feeling hurt, I no longer want to hurt in return.


God’s compassion for me and my suffering allows me to extend compassionate thoughts toward others as I continue to move forward in my journey of peace.


Grace for Grace


41a Being moved with compassion, (Mark 1:41a)

Matthew 8:3, Mark 1:41b–42, Luke 5:13


43 He strictly warned him and immediately sent him out, (Mark 1:43)

Matthew 8:4, Mark 1:44, Luke 5:14

Mark 1:45, Luke 5:15a


15b and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16 But he withdrew himself into the desert, and prayed. (Luke 5:15b–16)


3 ‘Call to me, and I will answer you, and will show you great and difficult things, which you don’t know.’


14 “Behold, the days come,” says Yahweh, “that I will perform that good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and concerning the house of Judah.


15 “In those days and at that time, I will cause a Branch of

righteousness to grow up to David. He will execute justice and

righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. This is the name by which she will be called: Yahweh our righteousness.”


17 For Yahweh says: “David will never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel. 18 The Levitical priests won’t lack a man before me to offer burnt offerings, to burn meal offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.”


19 Yahweh’s word came to Jeremiah, saying, 20 “Yahweh says: ‘If you can break my covenant of the day and my covenant of the night, so that there will not be day and night in their time, 21 then my covenant could also be broken with David my servant, that he won’t have a son to reign on his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. 22 As the army of the sky can’t be counted, and the sand of the sea can’t be measured; so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me.’”


23 Yahweh’s word came to Jeremiah, saying, 24 “Don’t consider what this people has spoken, saying, ‘Has Yahweh cast off the two families which he chose?’ Thus they despise my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.” 25 Yahweh says: “If my covenant of day and night fails, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; 26 then I will also cast away the offspring of Jacob, and of David my servant, so that I will not take of his offspring to be rulers over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to be reversed and will have mercy on them.” (Jeremiah 33:3,14–26)


1 The Mighty One, God, Yahweh, speaks, and calls the earth from sunrise to sunset. 2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines out. 3 Our God comes, and does not keep silent. A fire devours before him. It is very stormy around him. 4 He calls to the heavens above, to the earth, that he may judge his people: 5 “Gather my saints together to me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” 6 The heavens shall declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge. Selah. 7 “Hear, my people, and I will speak. Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. 8 I don’t rebuke you for your sacrifices. Your burnt offerings are continually before me. 9 I have no need for a bull from your stall, nor male goats from your pens. 10 For every animal of the forest is mine, and the livestock on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:1–10)

Meditation Moment


Dear God,


I confess my gut reaction is to seek revenge for myself, rather than compassion. Help me not get in the way of Your justice, grace, and mercy. I accept that vengeance belongs to You as does the repayment of sin (Romans 12:19). Help me not return evil for evil to anyone. I want to follow after that which is good for all (1 Thessalonians 5:15). Your loving kindnesses and compassion don’t fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22–23).


Amen.


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