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Jennel holding baby

In a Child’s Eyes

Encountering the Compassion Heart of God

by Jennel Eberly

It’s funny the way God works sometimes. We expect him to act in mighty ways, to speak in a voice of thunder. Like Elijah, we expect to find him in the whirlwind or the earthquake. Instead, he whispers. He speaks to our hearts in the most unexpected ways and places. He whispered to my heart in a children’s home on the other side of the world. In the midst of extreme poverty, God spoke to me.

We arrived at the Mother Theresa home for sick and malnourished children, located in Davao City, Philippines. The first thing I noticed was all the little faces pressed against the window, anxiously waiting and calling for us to come in. What a deep longing for love and affection these children must have! As I entered the building and was flocked by children, I was drawn to the nursery. My heart broke for those who had just as deep a need for love and yet were unable to ask because they were too young or too weak to get up from their cribs. I made a conscious effort to give each child a bit of undivided attention and love – but there was one pair of sad brown eyes that drew me. This little girl, probably around two years old, lay on her stomach with her legs pulled under, and her head tilted to the side as she watched me. I tried to hold her, but she clung to the sheet covering her thin mattress and cried. I let her lie still and rubbed her back for several minutes – torn between a desire to comfort her and yet wondering if I was only making it worse. When I moved on and spent time with each of the other 15 or so babies in the nursery, I could see her brown eyes watching me the whole time.

Finally, I came back and stretched out my arms, offering to pick her up again. This time she tentatively reached up to be held. I nearly cried. I held her close, rocking her gently, not caring that in the heat her sweaty little body made me even warmer. I only desired to give her the gift of love and affection in the short time I had.

As I held her – and each of the other children – I could feel God moving in my heart. I realized that as much love and compassion as I felt for these little children who have no control over their circumstances, God loves and cares for them even more. As helpless and inadequate as I felt, God is not. He is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, all loving. I wept as he showed me a glimpse of His heart for His children. I continue to search to know how best to obey Jesus’ command to “feed my sheep” but this I know – I will never be the same after encountering the compassion heart of God in the large brown eyes of a Filipino child.

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