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Compassion of a Parent

Like a parent feels compassion for their children— that’s how the LORD feels compassion for those who honor him. Because God knows how we’re made, God remembers we’re just dust. Psalms 103:13-14 CEB

There’s a one-of-a-kind sort of love between parent and child. We love our spouses and friends, but nothing compares to the specialness we feel for those who have always been there for us. For birth parents, it begins even before we are born–from that very moment, the mother becomes aware of new life forming within her. We, adoptive and foster parents, fill no less connection when our children become part of our forever families. As parents, we desire the very best for them and never want to see them hurt. But when that inevitably happens, when that hurt comes, we feel their pain and do whatever we can to help.

The Hebrew word for God’s compassion, rakhum, is derived from the word rekhem, meaning womb. In Exodus 34:6-7, when God appears to Moses, this is the meaning when God proclaims, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (NIV) God loves us as a mother loves the child formed within.

Of course, God’s compassion comes as no surprise to us. We understand that we are beneficiaries of His loving grace. We become his adoptive children with our Brother Jesus Christ when we accept Him. And as good children, we must love, honor, and respect our Heavenly Parent in return for His love for us.

The hymn “Children of the Heavenly Father” (UMH 141) by Caroline Sandell-Berg, speaks of God’s compassion.

Children of the heav’nly Father

Safely in His bosom gather;

Nestling bird nor star in heaven

Such a refuge e’er was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish;

In His holy courts they flourish;

From all evil things He spares them;

In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever

From the Lord His children sever;

Unto them His grace He showeth,

And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh,

God His children ne’er forsaketh;

His the loving purpose solely

To preserve them pure and holy.

God, our Heavenly Parent, thank you for your grace. We confess we are unworthy, but we are healed by your compassion. We admit we have only sometimes shown you the honor we should. Forgive us; we pray. May we remember how deeply you care for us and return that love to you. Help us honor you by living in that love and sharing it with others. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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