As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. Psalm 103:13
After eight-year-old Gabriel underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his brain, it left a noticeable scar on the side of his head. When the boy said he felt like a monster, his dad, Josh, had an idea: demonstrate how much he loved his son by getting a tattoo on the side of his head with the same shape as Gabriel’s scar.
According to the psalmist, this is the kind of empathic and compassionate love God has for “his children” (Psalm 103:13). Using a metaphor drawn from human life, David illustrated God’s love. He said it’s as tender as a good father’s care for his children (v. 17). Just as a human father shows compassion to his children, so God, our heavenly Father, shows love and care toward those who fear Him. He’s a compassionate father, who empathizes with His people.
When we’re weak and feel like we’re unlovable because of the scars of life, may we receive, by faith, our heavenly Father’s love toward us. He demonstrated His compassion by sending His Son to lay “down his life for us” (1 John 3:16)—for our salvation. With this one act, not only can we experience God’s love for us, but we can look to the cross and see it. Aren’t you glad that we have a High Priest who can “empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15)? He has the scars to prove it.
How do you mind the gap between knowing God loves you and experiencing His love? How does it make you feel that Jesus, our High Priest, can empathize with every scar you have?
For further study, see Finding Peace by Forgiving Others…And Yourself
Heavenly Father, thank You for your compassionate love for me. May You use my scars for Your glory.
Psalm 103 begins and ends with a call to worship God—beginning with the individual worshiper (vv. 1–2), building up to all creation (vv. 20–22), and returning to the individual at the end of verse 22. In between, the psalm reflects on why it’s fitting for all creation to worship and lists the many ways God has revealed Himself to be a God of boundless goodness.
In many ways, this psalm (see vv. 8, 12, 18) is an extended reflection on the description of God given to Moses in Exodus 34:6–7: “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” Psalm 103 reminds worshipers of God’s mercy (v. 8), reassuring them that His compassion, love, and faithfulness are greater than their weakness and sin (vv. 13–14). All are invited to experience the joy of worshiping Him.