The chorus says: “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love. And the Lord is good to all, He has compassion on all that He has made.” Never in a million years did I ever expect the book of Jonah to remind me of this song. In my mind, they just did not correspond with each other.
Truth is, the story of Jonah is all about God’s compassion, not His punishment! Yes, Jonah ran away. We all do at times; we are human after all. But, God sent a fish. He always sends a fish! We can never run too far from His compassion. My counselor was my fish helping me see God’s compassion and helping me extend that same compassion to myself.
Jonah Chapter 2 is Jonah’s cry of repentance. He called out to the Lord and the Lord answered. God had compassion on Jonah; He commanded the fish to spit him out back onto the dry land.
God hears our cries and our prayers! He doesn’t look down on us in anger, He looks down with compassion. If you’re a parent, you likely know this feeling! Your child can be behaving horribly; talking back to you, not listening, throwing tantrums. You’re angry and frustrated and close to losing it, but then they look up at you and say, “I’m sorry, I love you, mamma…” Doesn’t your heart just break? You can’t help but experience great compassion for your child. God is the same way towards us.
Jonah then goes to Nineveh as the Lord originally asked him. To his dismay, despite all the Ninevites’ evilness, God offered compassion to them as well. “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10). Jonah just experienced God’s great compassion in the belly of the fish, yet he could not accept that God would have the same compassion on the Ninevites. He could not grant the compassion that God so graciously bestowed on him.
How often do we experience the Lord’s compassion? Every single day. How can we then extend that same compassion to others and ourselves for that matter? We might think they are undeserving, but guess what? So are we! That’s the beauty of God’s grace and compassion. We are so undeserving and yet He still gives it freely.
So let’s all freely accept His compassion and therefore, freely give compassion to those around us, too. Let’s show compassion to the mother and child who seem to be taking forever at the checkout; let’s extend compassion to the driver that just cut you off or the server that just spilled your coffee. Let us be people full of compassion.
Memory Verse: “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” Psalm 145:8-9 NIV
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Alexa Gearhart Angi Morrison Anna Bearden Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes