God’s Perfect Compassion - 4 May 2020
By Louise Gevers
Sing, heavens! Shout for joy, earth! Let the mountains burst into song! The LORD will comfort his people; he will have pity on his suffering people.
So the LORD answers, “Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you. Jerusalem, I can never forget you! I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones …”Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:13,15-16
What a beautiful image Isaiah paints for us today of the compassion God has for His people. Through this image of a mother with her baby at the breast, he evokes the fiercest and most tender love possible, to exemplify the way God loves His children; and although it was spoken to Jerusalem, God is unchanging, and so is the compassionate heart which He bared to all through Jesus, His Son. We are awestruck when we recognise His intimate knowledge of us, and His many ways of making His presence known in our lives.
This was my experience on the day that the lockdown was announced: I had been asked to run an errand that took me into the town centre. My mind had been troubled about pressing things that I had to do, along with the negative effect this unknown virus was having on our country. I’d also been delayed through interruptions which added to my stress and led to me driving off later than expected. Yet, what an amazingly serendipitous journey it turned out to be!
It was ideal timing to hear the Radio host announce that President Ramaphosa had called the nation to prayer that evening, and to listen to the beautifully moving song that followed on the programme, which honoured the Lord’s greatness and acknowledged His supreme power. My spirit warmed to think that our president was calling South Africa to look to God at this troubled time and to unite in prayer. That listeners across the country were being touched by the call and the worshipful song added to it. My mundane errand had become a significant experience, further confirmed when the brief errand also became uplifting.
As I left, I unexpectedly met someone who radiated delight at how the Lord had provided for him and his family in the face of difficult circumstances precipitated by the lockdown. We were able to share about it briefly, and joyfully, before I walked away marvelling at God’s unending goodness to His people and the perfect way He could reach them. Moved, I recognised that God’s love went far beyond our understanding; He really knows our intimate needs and meets them all – nothing is too big or too small.
Prayer: Lord God, You are so wonderful. You are, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” and you “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to (Your) power that is at work within us.” (Psalm 68:5; Ephesians 3:20) Help us always to remember that we are the instruments through whom You express this compassion to those in need. Amen