"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36
Jesus loved with reckless abandon. He loved deeply and radically. He loved those the world deemed unlovable. He pursued the outcasts. He dined with murderers and thieves. He invited Himself into the homes of the poor and the hated. He communed with the stigmatized. And, He wept.
"Then Jesus wept." John 11:35
Weeping is not merely a glistening tear falling down one's cheek. Rather, it is a fit of tears. Weeping is typically associated with a deep burden, not a fleeting emotion. It is not a cry of momentary anger or frustration. It is not what we do when we see a touching movie or even when our favorite football team loses the Super Bowl. Weeping is a result of an ache so deep in our hearts that the only One who can truly touch that place is our Abba Father. Jesus understood weeping.
"But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep. 'How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.'" Luke 19:41-44
I feel like God has taught me a lot about this kind of compassion over the last several weeks. I live in a place filled with brokenness and beauty. I can easily be overwhelmed by hopelessness until I see the flicker of hope in another's eye. I live in a place that is dark and thus have to carry the light of life within me wherever I go. There have been many days where I have wanted to stop, to sit, and to weep. Weep over the deception in which people live. Weep over the filth in which people live. Weep over the rejection people feel. Weep over the injustice that surrounds them.
But, I have yet to actually release the floodgates. Sometimes my eyes well up. Sometimes a tear or two will escape. But, a flood is coming soon. A cleansing flood for both me and for this nation I have come to love so deeply.
"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5b