You may not know that I have been a practicing psychologist/therapist since the 1980’s. Almost 40 years in fact. My latest professional interest is working with parents who have become estranged from their adult children. An experience that can be especially painful for the rejected parents…I could write more as this is a topic about which I am passionate, but let me begin my devotion thought.
The backdrop for today’s devotional is that I started reading the Bible one chapter at a time, two and quarter years ago to try to gain a fresh perspective on what God is like on a personal level. In addition to all the pain that I encounter in my practice, what really prompted the Bible reading is having a close friend going through a faith deconstruction so I wanted to know personally what God is like. By that I mean, what is God like from my subjective sense – not in a theological sense (although matters greatly). I simply have been re-reading the Bible slowly to get a sense of God is like on a personal level.
So, the Old Testament presented a mixed picture. An awesome God – loving, compassionate but also on rare occasions …angry…kind of like a parent dealing with difficult children…
Then I read the first Gospel – the book of Matthew. But nothing stood out that was a new insight into the what God was like from what I had read in the Old Testament.
Next, I read the book of Mark. All of a sudden I am struck, almost shocked, by the emotions of God as seen in his Son, Jesus. Take a look at these four verses.
And a lepercame to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.
In these verses we see pity for the man the leprosy. Next, we see compassion for the crowd that is lost and without a shepherd, and then we see compassion for a crowd that is hungry. And in the last verse, we see Jesus’s heart experiencing love for the rich young ruler.
What is God like? In the book of Mark, we find that God in Jesus is full of Pity, Compassion and Love. This is the God of Bible and this is the God who is there if we reach out to Him.