Note: This blog is part of a Thanksgiving series of blogs highlighting attributes of God for which I am thankful.
Ring. The phone announced a Saturday morning caller.
“Hello, Bass residence, this is Michele speaking,” my sister answered the phone.
“Yes, we will pray immediately. Talk to you later. Bye.”
We all waited to hear Michele relate the other end of her phone conversation with Marcy. “Marcy’s aunt and two cousins are visiting from out of state. Her aunt is not saved, so Marcy’s dad is witnessing to her right now. They would like us to pray that there won’t be any distractions and that her aunt will be saved.”
We were all ready to stop and pray, but Michele continued. “Marcy said that her uncle (her aunt’s husband) committed suicide. Maybe we should make a meal for the family.”
A murmur of agreement mixed with sympathy was voiced as we knelt down to pray for this dear lady’s salvation.
After prayer we jumped into action. Michele called Marcy to tell her we’d like to bring something over for lunch. My mom hurried to the store for a missing ingredient and instructed Michele and me to start mixing the filling for chicken pot pies.
Pretty soon, we realized that we had offered to bring lunch over earlier than there was really time to get it ready, so Michele again called Marcy and told her it would be about 15 minutes later than previously expected. Marcy assured her that it would be no problem. She even said there was really no need for us to make them lunch, but Michele assured her that we wanted to.
It’s been so many years (over twenty) since that day that I don’t remember all the details about what the menu included and why we kept having delays. But I do remember quite clearly the next phone call I was assigned to make to explain we would be yet a little later. Actually, it was unforgettable.
“Hi, Marcy, this is Monica.”
“I’m so sorry we keep telling you we’re a little bit later, but lunch won’t be ready until 12:15.”
Pause. “That’s no problem. But…” another pause, as if struggling for words, “Why are you bringing us lunch?”
I was surprised Marcy didn’t know that it’s just something you do when someone loses a loved one. Marcy’s family had recently moved to the area from another state, so perhaps people didn’t do that where she was from. “It’s just something we do at our church when someone’s family member dies—like your uncle—as a way of showing we care.” I stammered out.
Now it was Marcy’s turn to be surprised. “But he died nine years ago!”
I must say that if Michele had understood in the first conversation that this was not a recent loss for Marcy’s family, we probably would not have bent over backwards to rush a meal over! I guess my compassion grows stale. But I know Somebody whose doesn’t. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22- 23, emphasis mine).
The first time I hear about someone’s recent trial, I usually feel sorry for them. I often even consider what I can do to help them. The second time I hear about that same burden, I’ll still feel pretty compassionate. But my compassion has a way of wearing off about the tenth time.
God is not like that. His compassion for you and me is new every morning. It is just as fresh today as if whatever difficulty we are facing just happened. He’s there to help us for the long haul.
Take comfort in this. There is One Who cares and Who sees, even when everyone else has long since ceased to feel pity. The Lord’s compassion doesn’t wear out.
(And may I add a sermon to myself and anyone else whose compassion tends to fail? Let’s follow Christ’s example in this area. It’s so easy to simply get caught up in our own lives and our own pursuits and forget that others’ griefs are real and ongoing.
When someone loses a loved one, they don’t “get over it” within a couple of weeks.
When someone has a difficult family situation, just because they don’t always talk about it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect them. It feels real and painful to them every day.
When someone does talk about problems every time you see them, put aside irritation and realize that they feel genuine pain, even if it tends to annoy you.)
Let’s each believe and receive God’s unfailing, ever fresh compassion for us and ask Him to fill us with His compassion for others— new every morning.
Today, I am thankful for God’s attribute of compassion. What are you thankful for about God that begins with a C?