In order for life to be what it should, it must flow from a heart full of

tenderness. This is that quality of soul which enables us to give kind

attention to others, to be willing and eager to do good, to exercise great

carefulness to give no offense, and to be soft and gentle in every

expression. Like all other good qualities, this is found in perfection in

the character of God. "The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy."

Because of his pity he never lays upon his trusting child a greater burden

than he can bear, and in his tender mercy he always gives to each trial a

happy ending.

It will be helpful to study for a few minutes the principle of tenderness

as an attribute in the nature of God. "Like as a father pitieth his

children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." It is the father who

sees his little child in deep pain that knows what pity is. It is that

feeling which makes the father desirous of bearing all the pain. It was

the pity or compassion of God for the lost in sin that caused him to give

his only Son to suffer and die for them. When God saw the wretchedness of

men, he had such a feeling in his heart that he could find relief in no

way but in providing the only means of their rescue. Oh, think of this!

The child of God never has a pain or a sorrow but that God has a feeling

of pity. The knowledge that some one has pity for us and fellowships our

suffering goes far toward alleviating our pains. Recently while I was in

deep soul-suffering, I received a letter containing these words: "We

suffer in spirit with you." This was a great relief. If in a time of trial

we could know how God was suffering with us, it would be a great


Again, we read, "As one whom his mother comforteth so will I comfort you;

and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Who is it that knows not the

comfort of a mother? When we hear of a young man's meeting with a sad

accident away from home, we have great pity; but when we learn of his

mother's having gone to him, we feel better. Ah, the comfort of a mother

is surpassed only by the comfort of Jesus. "If Mother were only here!"

says the troubled daughter. Nothing else so fittingly represents the

nature of the comfort that God gives as the comfort of a mother. O child

of God, you will never have a sorrow nor a pain but that the tenderness of

God will cause him to come and comfort you. Let us lift up our hearts and

praise him for his mercy and comforting love. A mother may forget to

comfort her child, but God will never forget.

The tenderness of God is revealed in these touching words: "How often

would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her

chickens under her wings." The imagery is homely, but oh! so impressively

sublime. I can not do better than to use here the words of another. "Was

ever imagery so homely invested with such grace and such sublimity as this

at our Lord's touch? And yet how exquisite the figure itself of

protection, rest, warmth, and all manner of conscious well-being in those

poor, defenseless, dependent, little creatures, as they creep under and

feel themselves overshadowed by the capacious and kindly wing of the

mother bird. If wandering beyond hearing of her peculiar call, they are

overtaken by a storm or attacked by an enemy, what can they do but in the

one case droop and die, and in the other submit to be torn to pieces? But

if they can reach in time their place of safety under the mother's wing,

in vain will any enemy try to drag them thence. For rising into strength,

kindling into fury, and forgetting herself entirely in her young, she will

let the last drop of her blood be shed out and perish in defense of her

precious charge, rather than yield them to an enemy's talons. How

significant all this of what Jesus is and does for his helpless child!"

Under his great wing he tenderly, lovingly gathers his little ones and

there they are secure. He is a safe retreat.

From the song of Moses we learn still more of God's tender care. "As an

eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad

her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did

lead him, and there was no strange god with him." This metaphor

beautifully expresses the care and the tenderness of God toward his

children. The eagle is noted for her great attachment to her young. Her

care is extraordinary. When the little eaglets have attained age and

strength to leave the nest and learn to fly, the mother bird bears them

up, when weary, on the top of her wing.

These all express to our hearts the wonderful tenderness of God to his

children. But there is nothing in the material world that forms a full and

perfect analogy for the things in the spiritual world. These are too high.

If we do not have the tenderness of God in our hearts, our life comes

short of being a full and true life. The Bible tells us to "be kind one to

another, tender-hearted." There is no true holiness of life without

tenderness. As we get deeper into God, we become more tender of heart.

There are some things that will prevent this tender-heartedness. Just a

little feeling of resentment, a little desire for retaliation, or a secret

wish for something to befall those who have done us an injury will callous

the heart and harden the affections. When we have been slighted by some

one or misjudged, oh, how Satan strives to get us to thinking much about

this, and to work a "hurt" feeling into our heart. Even to think about the

meanness of others will bring a harshness and coldness into the inner

life. That which we condemn in others will, if we think and talk much

about it, creep into our own hearts.

You say you are saved and sanctified. Thank God for such a blessed

experience; but you have much yet to gain. You have not yet attained to

the full depth of anything. There is yet a tenderness of heart you can

reach only through many and varied experiences. There is tenderness of

voice, tenderness of manner, tenderness of feeling, tenderness of thought,

you will attain to only through much and deep communion with God. It is

those intimate and familiar talks with Jesus that fashion us into his

glorious image. A brother minister related to me a few mornings ago his

experience of the night before. He lay awake, he said, for a long time and

had a sweet talk with the Lord. So intimate was the communion that,

turning over to go to sleep, he said, half unthinkingly, "Good night," as

if parting from a dear friend. Such close union with Jesus gives us

clearer visions of his character and stamps his beauty upon our souls.

Have you not seen those who are harsh, rough, and unfeeling in their

speech and manner. No one wants to be like them. We are glad to get away

from them. They measure a person by their standard, and if he is not what

they think he should be, they speak about him in an unloving and unfeeling

manner. We feel that something coarse and flinty needs to be taken out of

their nature. We do not say they are not sanctified, but they are too

bitter and severe. They need to be bathed in the love of God; they need to

be immersed in the sea of his gentleness. We have seen, on the other hand,

those who were so feeling, so quiet, tender, and gentle, that their

presence was like the breath of a sweet spring morning. There was a

tenderness in their eye, a softness in their voice, a pathos in their

feeling, that cast over your soul a sense of delight.

There is much for us to gain. But we can gain it only at the end of the

bayonet. If we would win, we must fight. There is no victory without

battle. One brother, after gaining a decisive victory, said, "The devil is

dead." He was so victorious and free that he thought the devil must be

dead. In a short time, however, the brother learned his mistake. The

prince of the power of the air still lives, and we still have our

humanity. If we are not prayerful and watchful, we become disposed to

contend for our way; to feel a little bitter if we are trampled upon.

Jesus tells us to "resist not evil." We are not only to not resist evil

outwardly, but to have no resisting feeling in our hearts. If we would

have holiness of life, we must have tenderness of spirit. If you desire

your life to be like the oasis in the desert, where the weary traveler is

refreshed, be tender of heart, be compassionate, bear every trial with

patience, endure all suffering without a murmur, commune much with God,

and he will bring you out into that tenderness of soul that will make your

life, everywhere you go, like the atmosphere of heaven.