I woke up this morning feeling rather down. There were things on my mind, feelings to work through, and a tiredness that came from months of emotion pushed aside. And then there was change coming and I hadn’t even begun to deal with that!
Confiding in my husband, I quietly admitted, “Perhaps I should stay home from church … I don’t really want to talk to people.”
But thankfully my husband and I have established the routine of Sunday morning church. Church is where my mind moves off of me to where God is and his perspective seems to open up to me.
As I walked into church, I greeted a friend who has often confided in me about some ongoing needs in her family. In the sanctuary, we sat in front of a man whose wife has a very serious chronic illness. Across the aisle, a set of grandparents wait under very precarious conditions for their adopted grandchild to be allowed to come home. After church, a friend asked me to pray for her as she had just been diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t for healing. Instead, she asked for joy and a new closeness to Jesus. Another friend is moving soon – her whole life turned upside down as she answers the call to follow Jesus.
Of course, I see the contrast between what I felt this morning versus some pretty big things. Had I stayed home though I would still be feeling down. Nothing would have changed. But in the service this morning I got a word for all of us … not a comparison. Not guilt inducing. Not a “you-should-know-better” look from God.
It was embedded into the sermon. The pastor talked about the prodigal son and was just at the part when the dad came running out because he saw that his son had returned home.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” The pastor zeroed in on the word compassion, which means, yearning from the gut.
It was as though the dad yelled out, “Can you believe it? My son! He has turned toward home! Oh my goodness. My heart is about to burst!”
Then the pastor told us that in the Greek, this use of the word compassion was only used in reference to Jesus. This kind of compassion only comes from God.
We all long for a deep compassion when we are hurting. But there is only one way to get it.
I close my eyes and imagine God yearning for me, feeling compassion because he knows. His yearning from the gut knows fully the pain, the depth of my need. He knows the prodigal parts of me that wants her own way. He knows the sadness that lodges itself inside and he longs to restore.
I am known. I am yearned for. I am wanted. I know there is a party being prepared. For. Me.
God has compassion on my friends as well. Deeply he longs to minister, to receive, to rejoice, to welcome. No matter the reason. He knows.
This is why I believe. God knows. We are not alone. We are not orphans with no one to touch our faces or to hold us close. From feeling down to a cancer diagnosis, God knows and he yearns to throw his arms around us with understanding that is followed by joy and celebration! I love living in that embrace.
Needless to say, I am glad I got out of bed and went to church this morning. I am restored, ready for a new week, feeling known, loved and cared for in a new way. I also found the desire to touch some of my hurting friends with a compassion that only comes from my Father – who is so very fond of us all.
Deane Watters loves all things family, especially the part about being a grandma! She adores her Father God and the sunrises he created; along with early morning walks, old houses, beautiful trees, deep talks over good black coffee, stories written of her life, talks with God and the sky.