“He just made a face at me.”
“Well, he called me a name!”
“Try to be kind, please.” I asked. “If someone does something you don’t like, respond in kindness.”
The month of April we talked to the children about being kind. There had been harsh words, fighting, and snide remarks. Instead of learning to be friends, the siblings were turning against each other. No one was happy. Everyone was miserable. The only time they weren’t arguing was while they sat alone in their rooms.
Being kind is more than just loving someone. It is love in action. How often have I loved in words but not in deeds? And how often have I let my kindness only come out to the ones who “deserve it”? Too many to count. So I look to God and found His kindness inspires me. When I read Psalm 136, the refrain “His mercy endures forever” echoed in my heart. The word for “mercy” is also translated “loving-kindness,” which is the Hebrew word “checed.” It actually means God’s “covenant-keeping love” for us. Covenant means promise. God’s love is directly connected to His promises. The promises of God are the reason we can wait on God, seek His face, and feel Him close, even in suffering.
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy – (covenant-keeping love) be upon us, just as we hope in You.
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For his mercy (covenant-keeping love) endures forever.
People aren’t kind.
Even the well-intentioned people can be unkind. But God is kind. It is all He can be. Even in suffering, we find the kindness of God. In suffering, pain, heartache, questions, doubts, and even in our deepest darkest pits I’ve seen the kindness of God.
No one ever has never suffered. If you have lived you understand suffering. So when I say we see the kindness of God in our suffering, I don’t mean we feel it. I don’t mean we even believe it totally. I’m saying the kindness of God means we can choose to see His love in the dark. In the mercy on the cross, see the kindness of a Father who continues to bear our burdens with us. I’m sure Jesus didn’t feel the kindness of God while hanging in agony with the sun darkened in the sky. Yet here we are. Saved because of this amazing kindness of God.
Suffering can show us the kindness of God.
When I say this, I don’t mean this circumstance feels good. I’m saying the kindness of God means we see His love in the lonely nights with tear-stained pillows. I’m saying the kindness of God means I feel His comfort as I read His words on the days I don’t want to read my Bible. The kindness of God shows up in the peace that passes understanding when all we want to do is hide.
The kindness of God is found in the small and the big ways; the small moments when I’m with Him in the mornings, quiet with my coffee, the little moments laughing with my children over something silly, the ordinary date nights with my husband, just holding his hand. More and more kindness is given to me and I miss it. I miss seeing the beauty because I’m wrapped up in myself and focused on my own feelings of being lonely.
One of the biggest ways to remember God’s kindness is to keep a list. A kindness list is similar to a gratitude list. How can you see God’s kindness, even today?
There is so much unseen, unknown, and frustrating about life. Right now we are trying to sell a house from miles away and there is a ton of stuff to do. There are people we are going to have to rely on because we are physically not there. But there are people who are there. And that is the kindness of God. We have to do school at home, but we have children who laugh at silly things and that is the kindness of God. It is hot, but we have fans and that is the kindness of God. Our laundry dryer doesn’t work very well, but I have a clothes line and that is the kindness of God. I’m so unfaithful with my Bible reading, but God is always faithful and that is His kindness. I am shamed by my lack of faith, but God says there is no shame; lean into the faith He brings. And that is the kindness of God.
We might feel forgotten, we are not, that is the kindness of God. We might feel unseen, we are not, that, too, is the kindness of God. We see God’s kindness in our suffering when we remember His truth and promises. Here are just a few:
- God’s love endures forever. (Psalm 136; Isaiah 54:10)
- Mercy is available to everyone who repents. (I John 1:9; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 86:5)
- God never leaves. (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:9, Hebrews 13:5)
- God provides strength for the weary. (Isaiah 40:31; 41:10)
- God is our rescue and protection. (Psalm 9:9-10; Psalm 107:13-16)
- God’s salvation is for the entire world. (John 3:16, 3:36)
- God will meet our needs. (Philippians 4:19)
- God is always comforting us. (Psalm 23:4, Psalm 27:1)
- God hears our prayers. (Psalm 34:17; Psalm 50:15)
- All things will work out for our good. (Romans 8:28; Psalm 31:19)
What if we woke up today and suffering remains? We can carve a path through the desert and find water when we see God’s kindness in suffering.
Sarah E. Frazer is a writer and Bible study mentor at sarahefrazer.com. Sarah is the wife of Jason and mother of five. She and her family serve as full-time missionaries in Honduras. Her passion is to encourage women to start today with a Bible reading and prayer habit. Sarah is the author of several self-published Bible study resources for women. She shares tools and encouragement for Bible and prayer study at sarahefrazer.com. Follow her on Instagram @sarah_e_frazer and download her 12-Day Bible Reading plan here. http://www.sarahefrazer.com/12days
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