By Steve Lowe Executive Director
We don’t necessarily struggle to believe Christ has compassion for us as sufferers, but do we realize his compassion, mercy and grace for us as sinners. I’ve come to realize that at a different level over the past few months through an incredible book entitled, Gentle & Lowly by Dane Ortlund. I wish I had heard more about this Jesus in my growing up years. Sin is deadly and serious, but it break’s Christ heart.
Let’s look at only one of many portraits God gives us in scripture. The book of Hosea is about God’s people forsaking Him through their sin and betrayal, and then you hear God’s heart in chapter 11:8-9: “How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.” It’s like God is having a wrestling match within Himself, his heart recoils at bringing judgment. He simply wants them to turn back to Him.
Do we really understand the extravagant compassion, mercy and grace the Father has for us. We never should run from Him in our sins and failures, we need to run to Him. He is always there with open arms for the ones that realize their brokenness. As we enter this Christmas season we see what extreme measures the Father took in sending Christ so that our sins could be atoned for, and to make it possible for the Father to welcome into His arms a rebellious people. This year at The Joy House we’ve walked alongside many in our teen-residential program and counseling center who are suffering through their own sin and that of others.
What a great challenge and encouragement the message of this book was for me in having compassion, mercy and grace on those struggling through their own sins. I’m so grateful for the compassionate heart of Christ in my own sins and failures. As a Christmas gift to yourself I hope you will read this book. It is a message I believe the church needs to hear. We need to know, understand and be transformed by this “gentle and lowly” Jesus, which is how he described his own heart. Please enjoy an update on our counseling center ministry as well as a story from one of our teens. Also please see an update about our new girl’s home. Thank you each one for your continued partnership in making a difference in the lives of those we serve. I hope you realize and experience the compassion, grace and mercy of our Savior in refreshing ways this Christmas season!!!