Cyclone Pam was merciless to Vanuatu last week. 300km/h winds tore corrugated iron roofs off buildings as if they were tinfoil. Crops have been left devastated, and drinking water is contaminated as a result of the destructive winds. Thousands of people are suddenly homeless, and some sources say people are drinking salt water for lack of a fresh, clean water supply.
Some seasons of life are like that. I don’t mean the meteorological phenomenon, but rather affairs that bear down on us and overwhelm us with their emotional and relational, financial, physical, or spiritual forms of destruction like literal cyclones. It’s no wonder someone termed them the ‘storms of life’. When something with this level of impact hits us we, too, experience a sort of homelessness and thirst.
The routines we’ve built around us, the adaptations to life’s little quirks, and the strategies we’ve developed to interact well with people around us can come crashing down at our feet when an unexpected storm thunders through. Surveying the damage we wonder how we will ever reconstruct the scattered pieces back into any semblance of order.
If there is one good thing about mishap and calamity, it is that it puts us in a position where we are recipients of the greatest humanitarian aid ever offered. I don’t mean World Vision, GlobalMedic, or the International Red Cross, although they and several other non-profit humanitarian organizations are already generously involved in aiding Vanuatu. I mean Someone much greater and of further-reaching impact than any NPO. I mean Jesus.
Jesus has a heart for the hurting. That’s you and me, though we don’t always admit or appreciate it. If we take the time to read through any of the gospels, though, we see a major theme running through the narrative of Jesus’ life on earth. His purpose was to accomplish the Father’s will, and the Father’s will was always to heal broken lives. God really loves people.
On many occasions when Jesus surveyed the people around Him, “he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). He always healed those who came to Him for help, yet never forced Himself on those who refused to be touched by Him. Sorrowing over those who were not open to His compassion, He observed, “Look, your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:38).
Jesus’ compassion is about making desolate lives whole and full and glorious. It’s a task He begins while we are here on earth and will complete at our inauguration someday in heaven when our earth-life is finished.
So whether we’re talking about catastrophes like cyclones, or the inner turmoil of lives under daunting pressures, there is nothing less than the compassion of Jesus that can solve the core of the problem. The same compassion that motivated Him to heal individuals, feed thousands, and pay the moral debt for all the millions of humanity, moves Jesus on your and my behalf to be available to us today.
“Come to me,” Jesus invites, “all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). That’s an invitation of compassion that Jesus offers anyone who is willing to be touched by Him. Is it you?
(Photo Credit: Non-Profit Organization 350.org)