Last week I wrote about a possible erosion of compassion in our healthcare service. Those of us in healthcare as a profession can be inundated with the suffering in this world. And beyond the physical aspects of suffering there is the question of meaning. Even more painful than suffering is to suffer something that has not meaning.
Yet in the midst of the pain of suffering and the human condition, we find some hope and meaning in the Scriptures:
- the pain of childbirth and the agony of death, which speak to us of the suffering of creation, are not random events, but are connected to the choices our first parents (Adam and Eve) made and the subsequent consequences which God made in Genesis 3:14-21
- the consequences God put in place were not only curses but an amazing promise (that the seed of the woman would bruise Satan on the head – fatally). Thus at some point the suffering will end and justice will be done
- while suffering is often due to sin and rebellion it is not always due to personal sin (‘my sin’) but to our common lot as children of Adam and Eve
- the good news is that redemption from sin is also not due to my personal goodness (‘my righteousness’) but to the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the second Adam
- Jesus announced that suffering is a necessary part of His mission! See Mark 10:45
- As followers of Jesus we are called to come alongside others in their suffering. Matthew 5:4-7
- Thus the reason we serve others is not to be for money or our own reputation or influence. The character of God must be our motivation. The LORD is merciful and gracious. Yes he is strict with sin, not allowing it to be unpunished. Yet by comparison His graciousness is overwhelming and extends so much farther than we can imagine (compare 3-4 generations to 1,000 generations)
- We have every reason to serve others with compassion, and all the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to actually do it!
One thought on “The LORD, a God merciful and gracious”
Excellent… compassionate, because of His mercy and grace. His kindness works in my heart, so that I’m propelled by the motivation in Paul’s Col 1 prayer ‘…that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects…’ and similarly in 2 Cor 5:9 he expresses his (and our) deep desire beyond all else … we have as ‘our ambition, to please Him.’