It is said that the greatest pain is heart pain. Sometimes it never goes away. Life is such that reminders of what caused it never cease.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. [Hebrews 4:15-16 KJV]
When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.” [Matthew 8:14-17]
Jesus wept. [John 11:35] 
I’ve written recently about the great pain the Lord Jesus suffered beyond His great suffering on the cross. There was ongoing pain that plagued Him throughout time. Maybe we do not think of God in that way, that He, as great and powerful as He is, suffers from something apparently only endemic to mere humans. Yet, the Scriptures are very clear on this subject: God suffers.
Perhaps that is why He is so into mercy. He goes out of His way to have compassion for others. And perhaps that is why so many people have a heart for mercy and compassion, even though they may have never submitted to the Lord. It is because we are made in God’s image. This is why even unrepentant sinners often find it in their heart to be loving and kind and help people along the way.
The last two plus years have been very difficult for a lot of people. Though never reported in the major media, a great many people have lost their businesses, their means to make a living, their relationships, and their health, many in spite of the so-called cure. Millions were forced to comply with authoritarian strictures that did much more harm than good. Millions will never recover. I am at a loss regarding what will become of so many of these people. And instead of this being a time of much greater soul searching, of much research toward answers, and of genuine caring on the part of those who made it through for those who didn’t and so many who are suffering still, we have seen an even greater manifestation of hardheartitis. Rather than move into an even greater state of compassion for the hurting, broken, and terribly betrayed, many have taken a hard heart against them, as if they all got what they deserved.
There is no way the Lord can be pleased with this. We know what touches His heart and we know He will do absolutely anything for anyone as demonstrated by His supreme sacrifice in payment for our sins, many of which are directed against Him. He has long since taken an attitude of forgiveness and hopeful reconciliation, of course, though he bears no fault. He will do anything in His power through righteous means to become reconciled to any person anywhere. And remember, though the Lord often gets blamed for the way things are or for what humans have done to Him and each other, He has never been guilty of sin. He is pure and holy. Sadly, some people gag at that truth.
ANOTHER CAR ADVENTURE
Though I believe in proper maintenance and keep my vehicle as well maintained as possible, over the last several months I have had a problem with said vehicle. It has a tendency to not start. Earlier it was due to a balky starter. There were times I would try to start the car with no success. I would wait a short while, turn the key again, and the engine would roar to life. I dealt with this for a year or two. It got worse. I took it in for repairs. I am blessed to have a great place to take my vehicle when the need arises. The people running it are honest and forthright. It is one of those rare places in that field in which you know they are shooting you straight. I have a great relationship with them.
I came across it, probably in the yellow pages, over a decade ago, when new to the area. I was about to take a long cross country trip. The day before, I was running a lot of last minute errands. It rained heavily. The next morning, when I started up the car, there was a problem. It was running like garbage. Since I had very little time, having appointments on the road that must be kept, I quickly looked through the phone book, chose a place that looked good to me, and gave them a call. The owner answered. I explained my situation. He said bring it in. When I got there, though he didn’t know me from Adam, and though he had other work in process, he attended to my car right away. I had chosen the right place. There is no doubt it was God-directed.
It turned out to be an ignition coil and a plug. He explained that there was a slight design flaw on my vehicle that allowed water to splash up and settle in the wells where the plugs and coils are located. He fixed the problem. I was there about two hours. I think it only cost me about $200. I thanked him profusely for going out his way to help me. He replied that he needed to help me get on the road.
When I took my car in maybe four years ago for the start problem I had then and they confirmed it was the starter, they put a new starter on it and all was well. What I didn’t know at that time was that the preferred starter they wanted was unavailable and so they got the next best thing, a starter from another manufacturer than the ones they usually installed. Last year, when the starter problem rose again, I took it back in. They replaced the starter.
Then they did something I have never seen done before or ever even heard of, and I talked to people about this that would know.
After installing the new starter, a good one from their main parts supplier which was then available, they brought out the old starter in a box and put it on the counter when I was paying. They said the old starter, the inferior one, was actually still under warranty. They explained why they had installed it previously. They told me to take it down to the parts house where they got it and ask for the warranty money. I was blown away that they would do that.
So I went to the local parts house. They said yes, the starter was still under warranty, but they would need to talk to the owners of the shop and give the warranty money through them. I returned to the garage. They called the parts house. The parts house released the money to the garage. As soon as they got the credit they came out and handed me about $130 or so for the old starter. I told them you can’t do that. They insisted. I said okay, then let’s split it. They refused. I essentially got a starter for free for three or four years. This was an unprecedented situation.
Now regarding my latest start problem, the one that has been off and on for the last half year or so, it turned out to be a bad battery terminal, the part that connects the wire directly to the battery. I’ve been dealing with cars forever and this kind of knowledge makes one feel like an idiot, but I logically thought it was the battery. When I took my car in on a previous occurrence, maybe two or three months ago, under similar conditions, they saw me right away, found that the battery tested good, and replaced one of the battery terminals with a much better one. For free. The owner did this. With a smile.
So the other day, I had a bunch of stuff to do that had to be done that day, and was about to leave early in the morning. And surprise, surprise, the car wouldn’t start. I could hardly believe it. It was fine just two days before. I live in an out of the way place. I prayed. I checked the old terminal. I took it loose, took it apart, cleaned what maybe needed cleaning, put it back together, tightened it down, and nothing. Dead battery. I would need a jump.
In this process a yard service contractor showed up not too far away and began mowing. With time wasting away and needing to get on the road, I prayed some more. I decided to go ask the yard guy for help. We had never met. I got his attention while he was mowing and explained my problem. He was very friendly. He first said he would come by in maybe thirty minutes. Then he suddenly stopped his mower, turned it off, and came from out of the yard. We had a friendly discussion. This was a positive guy. He agreed to come over right away. He pulled up next to my car, we hooked up my cables, and my car started right up. He noticed the bad terminal. We said our goodbyes. I thanked him profusely. He refused to take any money. I knew he wouldn’t but thought it was the right thing to do to at least offer.
I called my garage. They had no time. Were very busy. They were two weeks out. I explained the situation. He said he might have time just after lunch. Everywhere I went until then I had to keep my car running. Had many places to go. I had to leave my car running in parking lots. It never overheated. Also, when I had taken apart the bad terminal and cleaned it, the nut in one side never seated again properly. The connection was not very good. My car kept running. That afternoon I made it over to the garage. I had to wait. No big deal. But then the owner made time, came out to my car, and tested the battery. It was good. Incidentally, I bought the battery from them. It’s a five year battery. It’s been over four years. Batteries have since almost doubled in price.
He went back in the shop and got one of those excellent terminals they use and installed it. For free. And a smile. The car started right up. I thanked him profusely. I have prayed for these people many times. One can never know for the most part whether one’s prayers have had an impact but no matter. It is not the one who prays but the One who answers the prayers that makes the difference. These people are so busy they are actually two and a half weeks out and their customers keep making appointments. Half the garages in my area have gone out of business. They have almost more business than they can handle. And they continue being friendly and forthright with their customers.
I will leave it to you, dear readers, to make any spiritual applications regarding my stated adventure in this post. Is there a bad connection? Do the battery terminals need cleaning or replacement? Need a new starter or know someone who does? Maybe there’s a bad ignition coil or sparkplug. Regardless, the best way to deal with such problems is to first seek the Lord in prayer. Then be ready for the answer. And know that the answer will most often include mercy and compassion, either on our part or that of another. Sometimes we have to initiate the process.
Suffering is very real and we often have to deal with pain, but heartfelt mercy for those who hurt and are in need acts as a salve and anointing to meet such needs and absolve such hurts. The Lord demonstrated how this is done. Much compassion is called for in these times. We must give it and also receive it, depending on the circumstances. Dealing with pain, whether our own or that of others, is helped tremendously through simple acts of caring and love.
In my experience, I have discovered that beyond an apparent unseen barrier keeping people disconnected, a smile, an act of help though relatively minor, or something bigger such as miracles, all act as works of compassion that dissolve the barrier and allow for necessary human contact toward the alleviation of suffering. Most of us have been on both the giving and receiving ends of such interactions. Both have their purpose. Both are edifying. And you can’t have one without the other.
So, what began as a very hopeful day for me which turned into a short term mini-misadventure ended up being a great day thanks FIRST AND FOREMOST TO THE MERCY AND COMPASSION OF THE LORD JESUS, and secondly to some very good and friendly people who also demonstrated such care, one of which I had never met, who were willing to help out. For free.
And I’m not so sure they’re even professed Christians.
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.