The Wisdom of Compassionate Creativity
Submitted by Debbie’s Dad
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion (Psalm 116:5)
In 2008, our family moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Chantilly, Virginia . She continued to work on her blog, writing devotionals and working on a book manuscript. She prepared a new resume, and we began searching for openings and applied for job after job, with no results. Debbie had transitioned to the Virginia medical program and started having visits from new nurses that would periodically check up on her. Finally, one day in the summer of 2013, a new nurse visited Debbie and talked to her about her health and what she was doing with her daily writing. She was very impressed and told Debbie, “You should certainly be able to get a job.” Debbie explained that we had been praying and seeking a possible job because now we were in the Washington, DC area, which might increase her possibilities. The nurse said, “I am going to see what I can do.” That was an answer to prayer!
Within a few days, Debbie was contacted by a contractor for the State Department and invited to submit a job application. We did not realize that the nurse’s husband was an official who managed the disability office at the State Department. Debbie applied, and on July 8, 2013, she was employed as a Communication Specialist; she had a fantastic job working from her apartment writing materials to train people on how to comply with Section 508 of the law that requires federal government websites to provide access to disabled people. It was a dream come true for Debbie; it gave her a sense of purpose, the sense that others on the team depended on her, a daily routine, and a sense of accomplishment. She was even to State Department meetings in DC and welcomed as an offsite team member. What a contribution to Debbie’s self-esteem. And, like all employees, she looked forward to Friday evening and the weekend!
Her work lasted for two years until June 2015; the State Department manager moved to a position out of the country, and the new manager reduced the staff. Debbie’s employment was over; it was heart rendering. It was an incredible two years, and I often thought about those years of work. It was all because of that wonderful young man and his wife, who had the unique combination of compassion to see Debbie in need and the creativity to find a place for her. I believe that all employers who employ disabled people must have this unique combination – compassionate creativity. It requires compassion to see the potential in the disabled person and the innovation to find a way for them to contribute. I will always be grateful to that wonderful couple for giving Debbie two years of employment.
Shareable Attributes of God
Theologians distinguish the attributes of God that are shareable with humans. Of course, the most obvious ones, like omnipotence, omnipresence, etc., are unique to God and not shareable. But many attributes God will freely share with those who ask. For example, we know we are invited to pray for wisdom to make wise decisions that glorify God (James 1:5). Compassion and creativity are two of those shareable attributes God will provide to us to glorify His name as we help others.
God is described as the God of compassion and comfort in both the Old Testament (But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15) and in the New Testament (Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:3–4.) Throughout the Psalms, compassion is attributed to God (See 51:1, 86:15, 103:13, 116:5, 145:8-9). And His followers we are encouraged to take on this attribute of their heavenly Father: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” ( Colossians 3:12.)
God gave a man named Bezalel the “skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship” to create the elements of the tabernacle, working in precious metals, stone, wood, and weaving materials. (Exodus 35:30-33) He also taught others these capabilities (verses 34-35). This creativity was in creating physical things, but God also gave creativity in reasoning and discerning. We see this in King Solomon, who asked God for wisdom (rather than wealth), and God responded, “Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.” (I Kings 3:2). Here, wisdom and discernment are given, and these are key elements to a creative mind – the ability to discern patterns, make relations, see analogies, and generate new ideas.
When applied together, these attributes will bless others and accomplish the kinds of good works that help others see the character of God – compassion to see the situation of others and the creativity to take action so we can reach out in love. May we all pray for these attributes that God will freely share.