by Susie Crosby
noun: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. Isaiah 30:18 NIV
My friend posted a picture of her four-year-old daughter on the drive home from their vacation. Her eyes were wide with fear and her smile was gone. Her red, tear-stained cheeks caught my heart.
“Poor Annie,” the post read. “She is not a fan of driving over mountain passes.”
Neither am I, Annie. Neither am I.
I was just about to the top of a mountain pass when I experienced my first panic attack. I was driving my family and suddenly had to pull off the road–dizzy, sweating, and breathless. As my husband and I switched places, I collapsed into sobs and self-condemnation.
What was wrong with me?
I had been a brave and confident driver for years. I enjoyed being behind the wheel and going on adventures with my family. So when this irrational fear overpowered me, so did self-criticism. I felt defeated, worthless, and weak.
But when I look at this photo of Annie suffering through this terrifying trip over the mountain pass, I notice something important. Nobody is mad at Annie in this photo. Why would they be? She wasn’t doing anything wrong. Whether her fear was justified or reasonable didn’t matter. She was scared, and she needed compassion. That’s all.
The compassion is evident in the photo and in the post written by Annie’s mom. As her little heart was in the grip of fear, it was clear that she was being completely cared for. Her little body was buckled securely into her car seat. Her dad appeared to be an alert and experienced driver.
And the best part? Her mom was reaching back, tightly and lovingly holding Annie’s tiny hand in hers–for almost an hour.
Caring, not criticizing. Loving, not judging.
When we feel afraid or ashamed, we can remember that God is the great giver of compassion. Not only does he buckle us in safely and take the wheel, but he will hold our hand as long as we need him to.
He longs to be gracious to us.
He rises up to show us compassion, even when we cannot show it to ourselves.
When fear and condemnation take over, we can remember these words of Jesus. He understands our weaknesses and our constant need for reassurance. Let’s put our hands in his and let him hold us through the mountain passes of life. He is right there with us every step, every mile of the way.
This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Susie is a grateful mom of two (almost) grown boys who currently live and go to school in Honolulu, Hawaii. She and her husband live in a seaside town in the Puget Sound region called Mukilteo. They love to hike and kayak, they are huge Seattle sports fans, and they mostly love hanging out at home with their little dog Koko. Susie teaches P.E., Art, Technology, and Music at an all-kindergarten school which keeps her busy full time. Her passion and joy is sharing encouraging words with the people she loves. She is an active blogger and speaker, and she is the author of Just One Word: 90 Devotions to Invite Jesus In. She is always on the lookout for fun coffee shops, inspiring books, remote beaches, and farmers’ markets. Connect with Susie at www.susiecrosby.com.
Join the conversation: In what regard do you need God’s compassion?