The God of Compassion and Comfort

Day 11 of my 30-day writing challenge / Summer in the Psalms


This is a guest post from my friend Mary Lynn Erigo, for my church’s sermon series from the Revised Common Lectionary. The Psalm for the week is 86.


Genesis 21:8-21


In Genesis 21, we see Hagar in much despair. She has been sent away into the wilderness with her young son. The water they had with them had been used up and she knew the boy would die. In her deep sorrow, she cried out to the Lord and God heard her prayer. God had compassion on her and her little boy. He blessed him and promised to make his descendants into a great nation.

When we read Psalm 86, we see David asking God to hear his prayer, for he is afflicted and in great need as well. David puts his trust in God: “In Him we lift up our souls for He is a God who is good and ready to forgive.” David tells us in this Psalm that in the day of trouble we can call upon Him and He will answer.

Putting our trust in God in what seem like hopeless situations is very difficult. It’s trusting God for a problem that has no answer, a problem that seems impossible to us. But we serve a God of miracles and when we put all our hope in Him, even when an answer seems so far away, God reaches out to us and comforts us. He takes away our fear and gives us His peace. Oh, what a wonderful, compassionate, and awesome God we serve!

God is so gracious to us in our time of need. He is our great comforter. But God comforts us not only because He loves us, but also because he is teaching us how to be comforters: to learn how to comfort others in their time of great need and despair. When we show compassion to others and offer them comfort in their pain, we are showing them this wonderful, compassionate, awesome God and how much He truly loves them.


Think of a time God offered you his compassion when your problems seemed insurmountable.

Pray for those who need comfort. Ask God to comfort them directly, through his Holy Spirit, and also to enable you to offer comfort as a display of his love and compassion for them.

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