Gut Reaction

Sometimes people think that God doesn’t care. They feel like people don’t really matter to God. Thoughts like this begin with natural questions…

Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why such great poverty? Why the illnesses and the natural disasters? Surely, if God is real, and truly as powerful as the Bible claims he is, he could cure all this.

And since he hasn’t cured it all, the only logical alternative seems to be that he doesn’t care. So the argument goes.

It’s a big problem for us when God doesn’t keep himself within reach of our logic.

That’s why it’s so important to meet the real God, instead of the one we logic out in our own minds. Because if there’s one thing that’s made clear over and over again in the Bible it’s that people matter greatly to God. Our hurts, our suffering, our heart-aches and our struggles, they all matter to God.

He cares. Deeply.

Jesus, who was sent to reveal the mind and heart of God (because he is the Son of God, and true God himself), demonstrates this many times over. He shows it in both big ways and small. And those who followed him saw that caring heart.

Matthew was one of those. A person rejected by his own people, he was chosen by Jesus to be loved. Matthew also witnessed it with others. He saw Jesus’ gut reaction to suffering. In fact, he saw it so vividly and clearly, he wrote to tell us about it.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field'” (Matthew 9:36-38, NIV).

You need to know something about the verbs in this passage. The verb for “he had compassion” means to be moved to the deepest part of one’s gut. “Harassed and helpless,” when taken in a physical rather than emotional sense, means “all skinned up and thrown to the ground.”

That gives us some insight into Jesus’ heart. Jesus saw their hearts were all “skinned up and thrown to the ground” and he had a visceral reaction. And that was, “We’ve got to do something about this pain. We need to get these people some help. Ask God to call in more workers! Let’s get this taken care of!”

A gut reaction is a pretty good indicator of where someone’s heart is. Right here, Jesus shows us his heart clearly.

People matter to God. You matter to God.

Our Bible reading for Sunday, January 11, is Genesis 24:1-67, Matthew 9:14-38 and Psalm 8:1-9.

Header image based on "Mending a Broken Heart" by Raymond, CC by 2.0