“Then Jesus traveled around to all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. For when he saw the multitudes, his gut wrenched with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” Matt 9:35,36
“The disciples returned and reported on what they had done. Jesus took them away, off by themselves…..But the crowds got wind of it and followed. Welcoming them, Jesus talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed.“ Luke 9:10,11
Just now, after writing those words, a knock came at the door. It was a child asking for help putting the arms back on his LEGO Batman. I did not feel at all welcoming. At the sound of the knock, I felt irritation at the interruption. After my curt acknowledgment, the child entered the room with his request. I healed Batman, smiled mechanically, and handed him back; thanking me with a genuine smile, the child left and closed the door behind him. I turned back to my computer and found Jesus looking at me, head to one side – eyes laughing. I just shook my head and laughed, too, feeling foolish at my weakness for being irritated mixed with the knowledge that Jesus understood completely and was extending compassion to me at that moment. I think He sent that child just then, and I love him for it.
Jesus often went away to be alone, whether with his disciples or just with his Abba. Many times he was interrupted, and every time he was both welcoming and moved with compassion to heal and speak good words to the weary and wounded. “Those who needed healing, he healed.” What a Friend. What a Lover. The compassion of Jesus comes to us in our weakness and need. Yet His compassion for the multitude was not recognized by the multitude as a whole. Compassion was most keenly felt by those individuals who experienced the healing which resulted from it. I know it truly is compassion by it’s work in me. Reaching out to Jesus, if only to touch the hem of his garment, we believe and are healed. No condemnation, no judgement, no weight of Divine Disappointment in us. “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
The Compassion of Jesus comes to me in solitude and silence. It is in stillness where I meet my own desperate need. In abiding quiet I begin to see who I am, where I have been, and what I have done with eyes unclouded by activity and distraction. I feel more keenly the longings of my heart and how deep the hole is that I have been trying to fill. In extended periods of reflective aloneness comes the rising awareness I am needy, sick, blind, and broken. It is the pain of this awareness which I avoid by constant busy distractions. I use anything, even spiritual service, to keep the silence away. Yet it is only from the pain of need that compassion can be received. In the silence of my own need, I cry out to Jesus. In my solitude he reveals himself as near to me. In the quiet, I hear him speak gentle, affirming words of the deepest lovingkindness to my heart. It is in my belief of his kind words to me that true compassion is born in me. Believing in his good heart for me, I allow the Compassion of Jesus to flood my heart. From Him to me, then from me to myself, then finally the walls around my heart burst – unable to contain it, the Compassion of Jesus flowing freely from me to others! This is the power of solitude and belief in the inexorable love of Jesus for me; a painful but important journey of my heart into the eager and open arms of our passionate Father. I am never an interruption to Him. I come weary and lost, in sickness and pain, and he eagerly welcomes me with arms of passion. When I seek him out, he is near with the light of love for me in his eyes.