I’ve been reflecting on Mercy this week. Both because I’ve been in need of it, and been shown it, but also because I’ve been given opportunities to extend it.
We as humans tend to swing from one end of the spectrum of faith to the other: either doubting God for His provision of good things into our lives, or doubting God for His sovereign will to allow difficult things into our lives.
On one hand, we are standing with open hands before God hoping He will pour out rich blessings of joy that fulfills long-awaited desires; on the other hand, we are standing with closed hands before God silently wishing that He will not pry open our hands to accept trials and challenges and disappointments. In both scenarios, there is one thing that we are ultimately subject to and in need of, and that is Mercy.
Mercy brings blessings and gifts into our lives so that we will exalt and praise our Savior and God will be glorified and magnified; Mercy brings trials into our lives so that we will become more like our Savior, share in His sufferings, and so that God will be glorified in our weaknesses and humanity and dependence. The question is, can we equally, joyfully, and humbly receive both scenarios into our lives, peacefully balanced in faith between the scales of God’s unchanging character, purpose, and merciful disposition towards His children?
The definition of Mercy is: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.
If we daily live in perspective of who we really are (sinners who deserve God’s righteous wrath), trials will actually begin to pale in comparison to what we truly deserve, which is eternal punishment and isolation from the Father. When/if God does pour out specific blessings and fulfills exact desires we’ve had for days, weeks, months, and yes, even years, we should be absolutely astounded at His sovereignly ordained benevolence and kindnesses.
Compassion essentially means com (with) + passion (empathy). With empathy.
So, when Psalm 103 says…
“As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
and when Isaiah 54 says…
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
…we can rest assured that He is speaking the truth. The Lord shows His children empathy, and does not remove His covenant of peace and steadfast love from us. Wow.
Over the past two years, my family has been in the Crucible. Depression, Unemployment, Broken Relationships, Clouds of Uncertainty/Unclear Futures, and the Tension of hanging in the balance between ultimate ruin and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And, in the words of my dear friend, we came out as Gold. One has to go through the fire to be refined, so that the dross burns away and out can come Gold. And, today, we are in awe to see the many blessings that God has suddenly and collectively poured upon our family – all at once.
Did God pour out the blessings because we had done things to “earn” them? No, because Mercy is benevolence towards the undeserving. Did God pour out the trials because He shook His head at us, and thought that we “deserved” them? No. He has poured out blessings because of His mercy, and He allowed trials because of His mercy. He equally has acted in perfect wisdom, control, and love — and ultimately, His perspective is eternal, timeless, unchanging, and quite above our judgment and understanding of earthly circumstances.
So, when we look at the Future, whether it seems fortunate or foreboding, what then shall we say in response to these things? “If God is FOR us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Christ, graciously give us ALL things?” (Romans 8)
God is worthy of our Trust, my friend. He is worthy of our Praise. He is worthy of us literally giving Him our very hearts, and saying to Him, “Lord, abide here. Dwell here. Reign supreme in my heart, because You created it for YOU.” I pray that in ever-increasing ways, we as God’s people will find FREEDOM to give our hearts, lives, desires, and circumstances to Jesus, exclusively, unreservedly, freely, joyfully, humbly, and HOPEFULLY, knowing that He will always act in perfect wisdom and power and love towards His own.