My Bible reading plan has me reading through the prophets at the moment. It all seems so repetitive to me. The people sinned. They worshipped other Gods, even as far as sacrificing their own children. There was injustice, selfishness, and pride. And so God was going to allow them to be conquered by their enemies. The description of their punishment is so brutal. It could be easy to see God as some cruel dictator, taking pleasure in the punishment of a people who had turned on Him.
But as I was reading today, a few words stuck out to me. Isaiah 15:5 starts off by saying "My heart weeps for Moab...". His heart weeps. Other versions say his heart cries out, or grieves. The prophets are warning the people of what will happen and letting them know the reason this punishment will come upon them. Yet God is not happy about this news or looking forward to vengeance. Maybe He still hopes repentance will occur.
If God's heart weeps over a nation getting ready to suffer the consequence of their sin, then can't we reason that He feels the same way about us? Maybe you messed up and are suffering the consequences right now. Do you think God is taking pleasure in it? This verse tells me that He is not. His heart weeps along with yours.
And if God's heart weeps with those who deserve their punishment, how must he feel towards those who are suffering simply because of the world we live in? This year suffering has hit many people dear to us. A young couple who had to bury their child, and another who is facing that possibility soon. Marriages that are falling apart. A friend diagnosed with brain cancer who is facing an uncertain future. Others grieving from the death of loved ones. Surgeries. Depression. So much suffering. Yet many of them will testify to the presence of God being there in their midst...comforting them, strengthening them, and guiding them through. Their testimonies strengthen my faith, reminding me that God is enough and he does care for us deeply - especially in our suffering.