I am no template of Christ's compassion, but I know it's something He wants to develop in me. So every now and then, because He is faithful to that goal, He shows me someone and lets me experience a bit of how He feels for them.
It happened tonight walking home from work. As I passed by a random stranger, there was a huge rush of love and compassion for him in my heart. A deep love and feeling of understanding towards him, an intricate knowledge of God's love for Him. I didn't know how to act on it in that moment, in that place, but the experience opened a door in my heart.
You see, on that day, feelings of compassion were far from my mind. As I walked, my thoughts rested on someone else and were far from loving and understanding. Someone who has hurt me and I don't know what to do about it.
In that contrasting moment - feelings of love and compassion towards a stranger vs. a lack of those feelings towards someone I know - God spoke to me. He asked me how it could be so... this compassion for a stranger and not for a friend. "They hurt me" I answered... sent me into protection mode. Active love and compassion require vulnerability, and their actions had sent me into hiding and unable to receive God's own for them.
"You hurt Me." He said... "but I died on the cross for you anyways... I love you that much. I have that much compassion towards you." He hasn't gotten jaded by my daily attempts to push Him away; my multiple promises to draw near and subsequent multiple failures to be still that long; my lack of trust and faith that sprout weeds in every part of my life.
And He made it clear in the same moment, the reason He gave me that intense glimpse into His love for that stranger. It's something He wanted me to taste because it's something He wants to develop in me. It's something He can see even when there's no evidence... because HE planted it there. He wants us to live out our full potential, even more than we don't want to live empty, regretful lives. There is an antidote... it was Him in the flesh, it is He in the Spirit, it is Him who made us and knows us full well.
Someday when I am old, it will be these experiences that will appear in memory to remind me that I had chances to make good choices for an amazing life... I hope to be writing about that journey someday, and not the one I wished I had had. The same for all of you... most of you are in the first halves of your lives, and none of you are dead yet:) - it's not too late to be still and know He's God. I guarantee He has something to say to you.