Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Post-Flood Exhaustion and Compassion

We recently moved into our single-wide trailer on the farm. My boys think it is fantastic. They've been able to go on all sorts of farm adventures. They have been busy catching frogs, shooting arrows, finding cow bones and riding horses.

Despite the carefree ways of our little boys, Clint and I have felt the tension of being displaced. The work to be done battles with our human limitations and so often weariness wins.


A few days ago my two-year-old pulled one of his usual two-year-old pranks while I was on the phone. How many uses can a toddler find for a block of butter? Five, to be exact. And so when this adorable butter-slathered boy comes to me laughing in his slimy glory, I somehow know that he didn't do this alone. Someone unwrapped the butter block for him and encouraged him in his mischief.

In a bad-mothering moment, I burst out crying and couldn't seem to stop. Three little faces looked at me with bewilderment and a maybe a twinge of sorrow. My eldest, feeling terrible about his part in the adventure offered to help me clean it up. As we cleaned, he ventured, "Mom, why did you cry? You never would have done that before. You would have laughed." I thought for a moment because it was true. I told him about the straw that broke the camel's back. To my amazement, he got it.

In that moment, I started to see how God is using our recent difficulties to expand the heart of my son. Namely, God is growing him in compassion. This humbles me and fills me with thankfulness to God because there are some things that I can't teach my children. In fact, I worry that I will damage my children with my mistakes. But it is just like God to show me that despite my weakness, he is able to  expand the hearts of my sons.


With everything being so unsettled in my life, I feel like I'm learning about the compassion of God in a new way. Not as an abstract attribute of God, but in a know-it-in-my-gut kind of way.

My heart is wearied by the constant chaos. There are so many unknowns--so many things that I cannot control. I feel like I have been disillusioned by flood and disease. Perhaps God knows that my illusions of stability need to be stripped away in order for me to see clearly.

One thing that has become significantly clearer for me is the compassion of God. It is a quality that I love to see echoed in humanity. Without fail, I am filled with hope because it so strongly points me to the source of all compassion. A.W. Tozer in his book Knowledge of the Holy speaks of the connection between God's mercy and compassion:

"Mercy is an attribute of God, an infinite and inexhaustible energy within the divine nature which disposes God to be actively compassionate."

Actively compassionate. Without limitations. He never grows weary in it, no matter how flawed his loved ones. "For I , the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you.""