Dr. Dan Hayden •
Have you ever been guilty of making a premature judgment — you accused someone of doing something bad, when in reality what they did was good? Embarrassing, wasn’t it? You now probably think twice about making such snap judgments. Yet, many Christians make that mistake in their assessment of the ways of God. In their anger or disappointment they accuse God of doing “bad” toward them; but when it’s all said and done, they will discover that God is wonderfully good. So many times we are an impetuous people, and our judgments premature.
The story of Job is a case in point. Although we know that Satan is the real villain in the tragedies of Job’s life, we accuse God of complicity in Job’s suffering because Satan acted according to the permissive will of God. But God always works according to a grander scheme, and we would do well to reserve our opinion of Him until the end. This is the counsel of James as he draws our attention to the conclusion of Job’s story: You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful (James 5:11 NAS).
In the final analysis, the Lord is seen to be full of compassion, and merciful. The Greek word translated “full of compassion” is a wonderful testimony to the loving character of God. It is the word polusplanchnos — a compound word emphasizing the extreme nature of His compassion.
The first part of the word (polu) is an adjective meaning “many, or numerous.” In English it comes across as poly in such words as polygamy (many wives), polyester (a complex ester) and polygraph (an instrument for recording many physiological variables simultaneously). In other words, poly emphasizes the abundant nature of something. It is the idea of “many.”
Now, the word to which polu is connected, is the Greek word splanchnos. This is a word for the inner viscera (the intestines, or “guts”). It actually comes from the word “splen” — the spleen. When we say “I had a gut reaction” or I had butterflies in my stomach,” we are expressing the idea of this word. Figuratively, it refers to the seat of emotions or inward affection. It is compassion that comes from the deepest resources of a person’s inner being.
Therefore, the word polysplanchnos encompasses many inner responses of feeling and compassion. It refers to abundant compassion — or, as it’s translated in the NAS text, “full of compassion.” You see, the Lord is not just compassionate, he is abundantly compassionate! He is full of inner feelings for His people as they go through the trials of life. Our God is not aloof and unconcerned. He is extremely compassionate and merciful.
Admittedly, it is hard for us as mortal beings to see this characteristic of God as we go through the Book of Job, or as we endure adversity in life. It is not until the end that we will clearly see “the outcome of the Lord’s dealings” (James 5:11). He has felt our hurts and identified with our pain. He has had a “gut reaction” over and over — each and every time we cry out to Him in our suffering. He is “full of compassion” toward His people, and He will see to it that the end result will be nothing but goodness throughout all of eternity.
So, don’t be premature in your judgment of God’s ways in your life by accusing Him of complicity with evil or of His not caring about your difficulties. In the end you will be embarrassed beyond imagination — for all the while He has been polusplanchnos — “full of compassion.” ■