“And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him], And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” (Luke 10:30-35)
Have you ever felt like you were on the verge of collapse and that no one cared for you at all? Have you ever felt abandoned, let down, struck down, discouraged, troubled, sorrowed, hurt, wounded, or rejected? If so, you’ll likely be able to relate with the man in our story who nobody seemed to care about — that is, nobody except a foreigner. You may say, “Yeah,” the foreigner didn’t KNOW the man … the locals KNEW the man and that is why they did not want to get close to him! Precisely. In their “knowledge,” they judged the man as being unworthy of receiving love, acceptance, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, restoration, healing, and all manner of help. THANK GOD OUR GOD IS NOT LIKE THAT! For we read, in 1 Samuel 16:7b, “for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” And again, “But thou, O Lord, [art] a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15)
Recently, in fact, I had a very wonderful experience where I actually did feel a sense of being rejected … by God! But the Lord reminded me that he is like the foreigner who picked up the man on the road and showed him compassion. The sense of God’s presence and “voice” speaking to me about this was so strong that all I could do was weep. The next day it happened again. The Lord showed me a picture of himself as being the stranger on the road speaking with the innkeeper, and the end of the story was clearly highlighted in my mind, “and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee” (Luke 10:35b). Did you get that? That’s God’s heart revealed to both you and to me and to all who feel lonely, or hurt, or struck down, or wounded, or afraid. God is not the God of vengeance, but he is the God of mercy. Just look at the compassion revealed in those few words in verse 35: “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” God was saying to me, “I am looking after you, and I care for you.” What a revelation that was to my heart!
No don’t get me wrong. God is not to be mocked, and whatever we sow, we will reap, according to Galatians 6:7. If you’ve done some bad things, you’ve probably seen the “bad fruit” of it. No one is denying that we all “reap” what we sow, whether good or whether bad. But what we are focusing in on is the fact that God’s attitude towards those who suffer is always one of compassion and mercy, never one of judgment. Just look at this verse to prove the point: Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) And, by the way, for all those “bad things” that we have done, there is HOPE! God promises to cause all things to work together for the good to those who love him and are called according to his purposes! (Romans 8:28)
Well, there it is, in black and white. God loves you. And his love for you will never fail. His attitude towards those who suffer is one of compassion. Or, as someone has aptly pointed out (I think it was Warren Wiersbe), “God came to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comforted!”
May we so be comforted today by his never ending compassion towards us!
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. [It is of] the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)