When Your Plea for Compassion is Met with Silence

when your cry for compassion is met with silence

“I find that people often expect too much from people and too little from God. Only God can be God & people can only be people.” –Christine Caine

I expected empathy. I expected nods of affirmation that I wasn’t alone in my struggle, a warm exchange of words after leaving my heart lying there on the floor.

What I didn’t expect was silence. But it’s what I got.

Immediately, I wanted to retract my words. I wished there was a delete button, but this wasn’t a hasty post on Facebook. It was a plea for comfort, and there was no taking it back.

Instead of turning to the One who knew me best, I sulked. I sat in the recliner eating dark chocolate, robotically scrolling through pictures on Instagram. I retreated to my pit of gloomy thoughts and self-pity until, like any good Father, God gave me a swift kick in the pants to snap out of it.

I realized I’d been looking to others for the peace only God can give. I realized I expected too much from others who were struggling to find their way just like I was.

Most people see only a reflection of the person we truly are, but God sees our whole being.

He sees the imperfections, but he also sees the person we are becoming. He sees the struggle, but he also sees the refined, beautiful masterpiece on the other side of it.

I turned to the pages of Genesis and found the story of Hagar. A woman who felt forgotten. A woman who was obedient to her master, Abraham, even to the point of conceiving a child for him a child out of wedlock, and was then shunned for it. (Genesis 16:5-6)

As she ran into the wilderness to find solace, she thought no one saw her or knew her pain. But God did.

plea for compassion

He not only knew her ache, but he knew the blessing waiting on the other side of it. He came to her in her weakness and her vulnerability, and told her what she needed to hear the most.

He saw her. He knew her. He wasn’t going to abandon her or shun her.

His encounter with Hagar impacted her in such a profound way that she gave him a new name: The God Who Sees.

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13 NIV

Friend, I don’t know what you’re going through today. I don’t know who’s disappointed you or made you want to lock away all your secrets, vulnerabilities and struggles so that no one can ever see them or judge them.

But can I tell you something? God sees. He sees your heart, scars and all, and he loves it just the same.

Don’t write off friendship or authenticity. Both are sacred, crucial elements of this thing called life.

But remember there’s only one person who sees us completely. Come to him with your scars, and let him bathe you in the healing salve only he can provide.

 

*Linking up with these communities: #TellHisStory

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26 thoughts on “When Your Plea for Compassion is Met with Silence

  1. Beautifully shared, Abby. I believe we can all honestly say we are familiar with that desire for affirmation, for empathy. God knows exactly what we need in those times. (I’ve had several of those swift kicks! Lovingly, of course.) Hagar is a perfect example of this, as well. Your words touched my heart this morning.<3

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    • Yes, Kristine. And there have been other times when people gave me a hug with their words, but not this day. So grateful God always listens. Thanks for your encouragement, sweet friend.

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  2. Whew, good reminder. God never disappoints. And that quote from Christine Caine is spot on. Thank you, Abby, for thus perspective adjustment this morning!

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  3. You had me at the headline, Abby. I can so relate to what you’ve written here, up to and including the conclusion. I’m sorry you got silence that day, but also grateful for what God showed you as a result of it. He truly is enough, isn’t He? 🙂

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  4. Oh yes. I needed this. This validation that sometimes we forget to get all our peace and acknowledgement from Him alone…. if our Canadian mail system wasn’t poised to strike right now, I’d box up a thousand thank-you hugs in the mail and send them to you right now.
    xxoo

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  5. I am sorry that somehow your comment lay hidden, but I’m thanking God that the quiet drew you to Him, Abby. Those times are stinky, then morphing into good, God, and right if we look toward Him for completeness. Glad you wrote these words. We’ve all been there, but sometimes we need a brave warrior like yourself, charging in first to remind us there’s a way to victory.

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  6. The God who sees. I need to remember this today. Thank you so much for your transparency in sharing. So good to remember that God sees who we are becoming, and He will not abandon us. Good news for me today.

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  7. I love how you worded this: “He sees the imperfections, but he also sees the person we are becoming.” I want to write more, but I’m too sleepy. 😉 But I totally agree.

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  8. So good. I didn’t realize I was a sympathy addict until I didn’t have access to my drug of choice – people who would express that they cared. The Lord took me through a season when there was no one but Him to hear my crying. And that is his mercy and love. He has never failed me. Now I can appreciate when compassion comes through friends who care, but I can also appreciate that they are also in process and know to go directly to the source of love (most of the time).
    Thank you for this!

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    • Oh yes, I have been through those seasons. God used that time to draw me to Him and it truly was a blessing in the end. Thanks so much visiting and sharing some of your story here.

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  9. Abby,
    I don’t know that others don’t care, necessarily, it may be that we are all dealing with so much junk and strife that we don’t have much compassion or empathy left. So very thankful that we have a God who not only sees it all, but cares about it all, and is there to rely on to get us through it all. Like you, I’m learning to lean on the One who can be counted on.
    Blessings,
    Bev

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  10. Oh man, now I’m a sappy mess. This confirms 100% what God just spoke to my heart in prayer. He’s so tender to do that. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words Abby!

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  11. Wow Abby what a great post. I love that Christine Caine quote, but I love your blog post even more and how you have explained our God Who Sees. Yes, every moment and we are so forgetful that He’s there waiting.

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  12. Pingback: 6 Christian Posts That Will Encourage You

  13. “He sees me”. That was words that my church leader told me when I came to her with my worries and predicament. I am facing a divorce now due to my foolishness that i realised stemmed from my broken childhood.

    The minute my leader told me, ‘He saw you when you were a little girl”, immediately I saw myself at 1.5 years old running through a field of little yellow flowers on a sunny day and God was walking beside me. I saw myself again in my late teens/early 20s in the same field and this time I was walking beside him. I don’t see myself in that field right now, but I do “see” his face at the back of my mind.

    I am so afraid to repeat the same thing that happened to me to my children but alas, my mistake, has caused me to face the possibility of loosing my children and being homeless in a foreign country. Am I praying for a miracle? Yes I am. Am I afraid? Yes I am as well. All I want is to be able to go to bed with my children every night for how it has been for the last 8 years.

    I ask God these days, “What is missing in my life when I have all the material comfort?”, “What is it that I am still searching for?” Despite the storm I am in, I still find little blessings every now and then from Him.

    Thank you Abby for reminding me that He sees me and only He knows my true self, my most inner thoughts and feelings that I find it so hard to explain in words and people try to understand or decipher my words. It frustrates me no end when people try to do that, but I know that God knows all of it and He also sees a refined and polished me on the other side of it.

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