3 Things Christians Need to Know about the Compassion of God

As people of faith, we can trust in God’s presence, and God’s tender actions towards us. If you want a deeper experience of the Lord’s compassion for you, here are three things to consider.

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Published Nov 09, 2023
3 Things Christians Need to Know about the Compassion of God

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; (Psalm 103:13).

When my son was born, his mother and I set out to do all the things required by new parents. We bought the best toys, enrolled in baby-and-me classes, sang to him, read to him, and played music for him.

We also arranged for his shots. At two months of age, we took him to our local clinic for this routine appointment. I don’t know if you have been in the room when an infant receives their first immunizations, but it’s not a fun occurrence.

I was chosen to hold our son during this appointment. Everything was fine until the needle pressed into his flesh. As the injection went in, he erupted with a wail that I am sure filled three city blocks. As the tears flowed down his cheeks, I took my thumb and wiped them away.

The grandness of God is only matched by God’s compassion. Unfortunately, many people struggle to realize this fundamental truth. The reasons for this are varied. Some believe that God could not possibly be present with them.

They view God as distant and removed, the proverbial “old man in the sky.” Others believe that the Lord is “too busy” to be involved in the minutia of daily life. While they believe God exists, God is disinterested in their affairs.

And still, others fear that their sins have driven God away. In each instance, the holy perfection of God is equated with distance and callousness rather than compassion and tenderness.

Happily, Scripture continually affirms that God is compassionate towards God’s people. God reaches into our lives in the most grace-filled and loving ways.

Like a parent towards a screaming child, the Lord comforts us in distress. As people of faith, we can trust in God’s presence, and God’s tender actions towards us.

If you want a deeper experience of the Lord’s compassion for you, here are three things to consider.

1. The Nearness of God

God’s presence enfolds our lives. This is a fundamental truth of God. God is everywhere, as we all affirm, but this means that there is never a moment when God is absent from our lives.

God exists in absolute and continuous attention towards us. “The Lord watches over you,” says Psalm 121:5. Yet God does not simply watch us from afar. God’s compassion is equal to God’s nearness.

Psalm 139 affirms this by asking, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there, If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 138:7-10).

There is simply no place where we exist outside of God’s presence. In love, God surrounds our lives each moment. 

Despite what we may go through, we can be confident that God’s presence is always near us. In fact, the nearness of God is the very picture of heaven that we see in the book of Revelation.

As John peers into the heavenly realm, he describes heaven as a place where God “is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.

They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).  Heaven is defined not by streets of gold or by pearly gates, but by the eternal nearness of God.

It is because God is so near to us that our tears never go unnoticed, or unaddressed. This assurance gives us relief whenever our lives don’t go as planned. 

The pricks of an imperfect world never testify to God’s abandonment. When life pushes hard against us, the Lord comforts us.

Like a loving parent, God reaches into our lives to wipe away our tears. The Book of Isaiah affirms that “The Sovereign Lord will wipe the tears from all faces” (Isaiah 25:8). There is no person for whom this verse does not apply.

2. The Glory of the Incarnation

As I sat in that clinic, holding my wailing child, there was a moment when looked at me with eyes that spoke a million questions: “Daddy, why are you doing this to me? Daddy, why do I hurt? Daddy, I don’t understand.”

At that moment, I remember feeling that if I could shrink myself small enough to be at his level so that I could take that prick away from him, I would do so. But of course, I lack that ability and power.

This is the glory of the incarnation. What I could not do in response to my son’s pain, the sovereign Lord does for us in response to the grand curse hanging over our lives.

Jesus didn’t just come to stand with us and offer spiritual condolences. Jesus enters our discomforts and ultimately takes our curse upon himself. By doing so, Jesus offers us salvation.

The prophet Isaiah describes this salvation well: “On that mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all people, the sheet the covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever” (Isaiah 25:7-8).

This is a passage that looks forward to the great liberation brought by the Messiah, and we this verse fulfilled in the cross of Jesus.

Jesus removes the shroud that enfolds all people by being enfolded in one himself; He is covered in the grave sheets and enters the place of disgrace and curse for us.

If we need a vision of God’s deep compassion for us, we need only to look to the cross. Jesus is the very incarnation of God’s compassion for us.

3. The Gift of Eternal Life

God’s compassion for us is not something we affirm only for a moment. God’s compassion defines our eternal existence.

The compassion of the Lord stands above all forces of evil and death, whether they be physical or spiritual, finite or infinite. Paul writes, “Where O Death is your victory, Where O death is your sting” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

In our modern day, we can easily miss how profound such a statement is. Today we often view death as a state of non-living, but the ancient world viewed death as a spiritual force that wasted away all people.

Death was loosed in the world through the sin of Adam (Genesis 3:3). For the Canaanite people, death was imaged as the god known as Mot. Mot devoured people, destroyed lands, and even ate up other gods.

That powerful foe, the antithesis of all life, is ultimately defeated by Jesus. On the cross, Jesus gained victory over this spiritually oppressive force, thereby ensuring eternal life for all who believe in him (John 3:16).

By being swallowed in death, Jesus swallowed death forever, and because of his death, we are free to live eternally in the unrestricted blessing of God.

Like my infant son, there may be times when we brush up against the harshness of life around us.  But the pinpricks of a fallen world never outweigh the tender compassion of our God.

If you need to discover the Lord’s compassion for you, then spend time with Jesus. Open your heart to his presence. In him, you will find comfort, blessing, and life.

For further reading:

What Is the Importance of Empathy and Compassion?

3 Things Jesus Calls Christians to Do in Their Faith

Jesus Is Not Who We Think He Is

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Xesai

SWN authorThe Reverend Dr. Kyle Norman is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada.  He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at Christianity.com, crosswalk.comibelieve.com, Renovare Canada, and many others.  He also maintains his own blog revkylenorman.ca.  He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.

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