A post from the past. This was written in November of 2012, in Lowville.
Stress and sorrow keep me awake hours past bedtime. The dawn of a new day, commonly associated with hope, brings with it only a sickening remembrance of reality. In church one Sunday morning, I sense the need for conscious, intentional decision to cast my cares on God and praise Him for who He is. So I go forward during the pastoral prayer, kneeling at the altar to pray and cry out to God.
As the tears fall like steady rain, a little hand pulls a tissue out of the box and places it gently in my hand. And mercy floods my aching heart, not lifting the burden, yet somehow making it easier to bear.
“Do you need another one?” she asks matter-of-factly. Saying “No, thank you,” I pull A_ close, arm around her slippery hot pink winter coat, my heart warmed by her kindness and her presence. And His mercy endureth forever…
Two minutes later, one of my brothers joins me at the altar, summoned by A_. He told me afterwards that he wouldn’t have gone to pray at the altar, but since A_ commanded him to, acquiescing seemed like a better option than dealing with the major fuss that would be guaranteed if he refused. A_’s fusses had been experienced during church services on numerous occasions, and sometimes it was better just to avoid them.
This brother and I share concerns and personal needs, catch a quick glimpse into each other’s hearts, pray, share community. And His mercy endureth forever…
Mercy washes over me…unexpected, undeserved, and unsolicited. It is the Lord’s faithful mercy – the kind that endureth forever.
And what a wonderful manner of demonstrating mercy! You see, A_ isn’t simply one of the typical little girls in our church. She isn’t just one of my many friends there who are under ten years old.
If love can be measured by hands outstretched to people in need, by spending oneself to serve, by anger over injustice, by longsuffering in tough situations, then this little girl is one of the children I love best in all the world. Many a time I have poured out my heart in fervent prayer for this child and members of her family, that God would bring restoration, healing, righteousness, truth, and His perfect love to their lives. Many a tear I have cried over the pain and heartache A_ has already faced, and the continuing challenges that they cause for her present and future. Yet God’s mercy endureth forever…
In the past, my heart has agonized for this little friend, burdened with deep concern for her safety and wellbeing. God gave me the wonderful opportunity to be part of her life, to pour His love into her. I started doing this out of love for Jesus and almost immediately grew to love this precious girl, who, despite her challenging behavior, also has endearing qualities, many talents, and intelligence.
Despite all the time, energy and love given to this child, I expected nothing in return. All I wanted was for her to be blessed and protected by the Lord’s mercy, her footsteps guarded by Him who loves the neglected and oppressed. Yet today, God surprised me by showing His enduring mercy to me through this little friend.
Mercy given. Mercy received. Mercy poured through channels of mere humanity. None of this happens because of us or who we are, but all because of Him whose mercy endureth forever.