“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3
God is the Father of mercies. The word “mercies” is oiktirmon . It means “to have compassion on, pity, mercy.” It is the pity or compassion someone shows for the sufferings of another. The Apostle Paul chose the word “Father” to describe God’s relationship to us. He is the “Father of mercies.” God is our Heavenly Father. He gave us physical life. He is our Spiritual Father. He gave us eternal life. We are His children: His sons and daughters. God has deep feelings for the condition of His children. He is loving, compassionate and merciful. He cares about what we face each day. He cares about how we’re doing, what’s happening to us, what others are doing to us and where we’re headed in life. God knows how difficult our road can be. He knows how people and the Enemy attack us day and night sometimes. He knows how others can speak evil about us. He knows how life can throw us curves. God knows how others let us down. He knows how we let ourselves down. God sees, knows and is full of compassion toward us.
“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” James 5:11
The word “merciful” is oiktirmon. James is writing to Jewish believers who have suffered much. The context of this verse is the suffering they were experiencing because of their faith in Christ. James used Job as an example of how tough things can get but how God can turn the worst trials to blessing. With that example, James reminds believers that the Lord “is full of compassion and mercy.”
God understands our pain and suffering. His Son, Jesus Christ, is personally acquainted with it. The prophet Isaiah predicted that Christ would suffer for us.
“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5
Jesus is familiar with suffering. He suffered during His ministry on earth. He suffered for the Truth. He suffered for you and me. He knows about suffering. When we tell Him about our suffering, He understands. In fact, He did something about it! He bore our griefs. He carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement that brought us peace was upon Him. His stripes healed us. The Lord laid on Christ “the iniquity of us all!”
When is God compassionate toward us? Always! When does He show us mercy? All the time! There is never a moment in your life when God is not compassionate and merciful toward you. Think about some of the tough times you’ve had in your life. Remember how you felt? Remember the pain and suffering? You may have felt alone but you weren’t, were you? You learned that God was always with you. Remember how He showed His compassion and mercy in your situation? Remember how He solved your problems, dried your tears and worked out things for good? Well, He’s still compassionate today. He’s still showing you mercy. He still cares about everything you face in life. He’ll be with you this week just like He was last week and the week before that and the week before that. God will never leave you to face trials alone. He’s your Father of Compassion.
What do we do with God’s compassion? Two things. First, receive it as a gift of cool, pure water in a hot and angry desert. God’s compassion is our refreshment in times of trouble. It gives us hope and the courage to go on. It teaches and matures us so we can serve God better through the years. Second, share God’s compassion with someone else this week. Be compassionate and merciful toward others just as God is compassionate and merciful toward you. God is our example of compassion. Do as He does. Christ Who is “in” us wants and will reach out to touch the lives of others and show them His compassion through us.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 4:32-5:2
We are God’s special people. We are a holy people. We are loved. Because of that, we can be compassionate to members of our family, our Christian brothers and sisters, our neighbors and even strangers. It’s part of our high calling in Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Colossians 3:12-14
We pray God will bless you richly with His mercies and will give you the opportunity today to show mercy to someone who needs to know how much God loves them.