Loving and Compassionate God

By Pastor Teck Uy

Many lament today because things did not turn out the way they expected and they are suffering the consequences of their actions. As they look back and recollect what happened, they grieve even more and reach the point of despair. But is there hope in the midst of great sufferings? In the case of the prophet Jeremiah, the more he recalled and pondered on his past sufferings, the more he grieved inside. However, in the midst of his lamentation, he suddenly found hope because he did not only recall his suffering, but also the mercies and compassion of God. He said, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentation 3:22-23).

If God was not loving and compassionate, Jeremiah realized that things could have been worse. He recalled the words of the Lord to Israel: “Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished” (Jer. 30:11). Indeed, God is faithful—yet he is also a just God. He will not completely overlook our transgression. Oftentimes, our suffering is just a form of punishment, but this is not meant to bring complete destruction. In fact, King David presented the Lord’s compassion beautifully when he said, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious…he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:8-10). If the Lord will indeed deal with us according to what we have done, we will not survive because death is the penalty of sin. But God so loved us that he gave his only begotten Son to die for our sins.

The tendency of some who go through extreme trials is to spend their time alone. As they lament over their circumstances, they find no hope. Some even go to the extent of committing suicide, believing that it is the only way out. Those who tend to withdraw when they are facing difficulties should learn from King David. When he was suffering and looked around, King David saw the wicked prospering and in good health. They seemed to be unaffected by the afflictions that visited the righteous. The more he pondered on this, the more he grieved and questioned the justice of God. He confided, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (Ps 73:16-17). The best approach to sufferings is to stay close to God. Had King David not entered the sanctuary of God, he could have fallen victim to self-pity and despondency. It is in the presence of God that we see things clearly in the point-of-view of God. David testified further, “Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!” (Psalm 73:18-19).

When we go through difficulties, we must remember that these will not last long. We have heard of the sayings, “There is light at the end of the tunnel” and “Behind is dark cloud the sun is still shining”. These quotations are not without Scriptural basis. According to King David, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). God’s love and compassion assure us of a good ending if we will only endure. Therefore we need to wait patiently on the Lord. After being assured of God’s mercies, Jeremiah said, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him…it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD” (LAM. 3:24-26).

When Jesus was here on earth, he manifested his compassion by performing the miraculous healing of the sick. Because he had compassion on the crowd that had been following him for days, he fed the four thousand men. He also showed compassion and love toward the relatives of Lazarus and he raised him from the dead. Friends, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will likewise show his love and compassion to us as we put our faith in him. Let us wait on him, even in the most difficult hour of our life, for he will surely come to save us. Hallelujah!