I love that my kids have awesome imaginations. Of course, their ways of expressing their imagination is all different – one uses drawing, one – writing, one- crafts cool stuff out of a various assortment of things,…but all love dress-up. My fifth grader inherited some amazing Nerf weapons from his older siblings and these necessary tools, for destroying imaginary enemies, are his joys.
It just so happened that recently he misplaced one of his swords. Maybe I should say THE sword. A Nerf Master Sword (if you actually know what that means, you receive 5 points). This was a BIG deal. He looked everywhere…twice, with no result.
I knew what it was like to lose something I loved. I have a favorite pair of earrings floating around in the world somewhere that I’ve never been able to find. So we sat together, prayed for help, and I tried to comfort him as best I could.
Then I remembered him placing it on a piece of furniture and wondered if maybe have fallen into a difficult nook behind that piece of furniture. So we looked. Sure enough, there it was. Not only was it in a difficult to reach spot, it was also stuck beneath the weight of this large bookshelf. Definitely in a spot my 11-year-old couldn’t get to.
Thankfully, my arms are longer than his, so after shuffling the bookshelf around a little, then reaching my arms down into the narrow crevice of doom, the sword came free and I had a happy son.
As simple as this sounds, it made me think of something eternal.
There’s something beautiful about compassion. When you feel as if you’re not carrying a burden alone, but others see the difficult and share in the struggle by showing kindness. Compassion serves a wonderful purpose of connection and comfort.
But compassion can only go so far. I could try and comfort Samuel about his lost sword, but he’d still hurt from the lostness.
However, I had something else. I had power. Power to remember where I’d seen his sword last and also power to move stuff around to reach the coveted sword. Compassion paired with power is AMAZING.
You know, that’s what we get in Jesus. Just think about two stories in Mark that are told back-to-back. First the feeding of the 5000 and then Jesus walking on water. Jesus had compassion on the hungry people – because not only were they hungry for food but hungry for His words. His compassion was beautiful – but he could do even more. He had the POWER paired with compassion to make a difference.
We all know that power by itself isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s been misused for centuries to the detriment of millions -but paired with compassion it’s world-changing.
After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus sees his disciples trying to cross the sea only to be met by strong winds slowing them down. What does he do? He goes to them…walking on the water. If he was just trying to show off power, he’d have kept walking right past them, but he doesn’t. Compassion for his wayward disciples pauses him and even compels him to still the winds so they could make it across the sea.
I find such comfort in this! Why?
Life happens! – with all of its messy, storming, achy, heart-bending brokeness.
And though God is a god of compassion – and that compassion can comfort in part, He is also a God of power, which makes the comfort whole.
He is able to take on the storm, the hungry, the broken…the mess, and do something about it out of his overwhelming goodness. If you’re struggling with finding your hope, remember, He not only showers His children with compassion – He has the ability “to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesian 3:20-21)
The outcome might be what we expect (ie…water walking), but it will be what we need most. At our cores. And it will be wrapped in his love.
That, we can count on.