I am a pleaser. Sometimes this is a good thing (such as the fact that I work hard and diligently as a result) and sometimes it is a bad thing (because I too easily find my moods and worth in how others value what I do and not in its natural value or what I might assign to it). If I don’t feel a project will please, I often don’t even start it.
When I feel as if I’m failing, I tend to shy away from the foot of the Cross to which I so readily cling. I try to hide my failure, even from the God who so clearly has seen it all and loves me regardless.
But there is compassion for the taking at Jesus’ feet! I love Bethany Dillon’s song, “Be Near Me”:
All I have ever wanted –
and what men have given their lives for –
is a God who understands my weaknesses, a God that I can love.
I cannot believe You are angry or unjust –
You’ve done nothing but have compassion on us.
So be near when I’ve given up. Be near me.
Compassion is what stirs me from my hiding. It is the very heart of God in so many ways! Compassion gives life, and takes us from our hiding in the darkness and brings us into the glorious light of life in the Son of God! It lifts our eyes from our failure and brings an understanding of Christ’s heart near to us.
Knowing myself and knowing the incredible depths of folly to which I succumb so readily, it is awe-inspiring and humbling to serve a God who understands my weaknesses and failures without my having to bring them out of the dark cubby where I like to hide them.
He is not angry or unjust. Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions about Christianity is that God exists as a large Judge in the sky, waiting to rain judgement and dole out apt punishment – but I am so grateful that is not an accurate picture of the God I fail and fall before daily!
It is true that He will act as Righteous Judge – He is holy, righteous in all His ways, and any violation of His character by us deserves eternal punishment. We have to start with God. When we start with ourselves, we always will fail in answering the important questions about life here on this round, rotating rock flying in space.
But He is compassionate! Jesus was not a mistake and is not just a man that people follow and cling to blindly. In His knowledge, God set Jesus as the Lamb Slain on the Altar of God before our world was ever born. Just as a parent anticipates the birth of a child, so God looked forward to our arrival. But He knew our sin against His holy nature could too easily separate us from Him as our Father.
So He sent Jesus, fully man in His limitations and fully God in His glory. And He was sent, from the first, to die for us.
Before we were born, God took those steps to prepare for our arrival and to ensure that we would not be wrested from His grasp by others who would claim us as their own.
Before I was born! I need the reality of this in my heart every day or I try to hide behind all that is already exposed and dealt with in the economy of mercy.