"God of Justice" by Tim Hughes, posted on youtube with a slide show of Africa
In the 2001 romantic comedy, The Wedding Planner, the main character, Mary, is under pressure from her father to marry a man he has picked. When Mary balks at the idea, her father tells her of his own arranged marriage saying this, "Respect grew to like. Then like grew to love. A deeper love than I could ever have hoped for." This is how I feel about Haiti.
In March 2010, I sat in a classroom substitute teaching and wrote a graphic scene of a girl in the midst of the Haiti earthquake. I have never been to Haiti but my emotions were stirred from the horrific quake that devastated the nation and from the struggles of a childhood friend who was caught in the effects and aftermath. Over the year that has followed the story has taken on a life of its own. When I first heard of the earthquake, I felt pity. I was broken-hearted for the people, but it remained at that. I prayed for the people there, prayed for my friend who struggled, prayed for the people who lost loved ones, and prayed for recovery. As I have researched for this book, my pity has grown to compassion. I am involved. I grow alert every time I hear the word "Haiti", I talk to everyone in my life who has been about their stories and love for the country, and I feel my heart shifting from like to love - from pity to compassion to passion.
It is an interesting progression and one I can no longer ignore. I pray that if the Lord allows this book to be published, I will be able to donate some of the money towards the multitude of activities going on in Haiti to make it a stronger country. In identifying my dawning compassion, I was struck with the depth of Jesus' compassion for us. He is the great I AM of COMPASSION. Compassion is defined as a sympathy and empathy for the suffering and less fortunate and is a trait of love itself. Does it blow your mind that the God of the Universe has compassion for the broken places in your life? That humbles me. In the Bible, He cares so much that Jesus cried for those who saw who were broken and in pain. See if you can identify with any of these verses.
Weary and Burdened - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Weak and Young in Faith - He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11
Those wrestling with Temptation - "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Hebrews 2:18
Broken-hearted - "When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, 'Don’t cry.'" Luke 7:13 (widow who lost her son)
- "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept." John 11:33-35 (best friend, Lazarus, died)
Sick/Diseased - "And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, 'If You are willing, You can make me clean.' Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed.'" Mark 1: 40-41
Poor - "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat." Mark 8:2
Lost - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
The last verse is the ultimate act of compassion, the all-consuming result of a love so deep that it is willing to sacrifice. That is the depth of Jesus Christ's love for you. He sees you in your poor, broken, sick, weak, and weary state and His heart breaks over you. He is there asking you to reach out to Him and allow Him to heal you and pour out His compassion and love on you.
Someone once told me that if I prayed to have but a drop of the Lord's compassion for others it would break my heart. I don't know if I can handle that. But I pray that my compassion moves me to action on the behalf of others - whether that means prayer, raising awareness, or going to serve in person. Rest in the great I AM's compassion for you! And then take that compassion and turn it into action. Serve, share, help others. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.
May He fill us up and send us out to show His compassion to others.