mer • cy [mur see] noun
1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power
2. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment
Do you ever feel like you’ve really grown, reached some new milestones in your faith and become stronger, only to look in the mirror one day to see a shallow, doubting, pouting, childish disciple looking back?
I’m pondering today that reassuring well-loved verse in Lamentations 3:22-23 –
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Do you remember the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert after God rescued them from slavery in Egypt? They were hungry and God provided manna every morning for them to gather and eat. He gave specific instructions to just get what they needed for that day because if they tried to save it for the next day it would spoil. He would give them fresh manna the next morning and did so every day in love. They had to depend on him daily to meet their needs.
Do you remember Paul, the persecutor turned passionate Jesus follower, who agonized over the battle between who he wanted to be and his sinful, prone-to-messing-up self? “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19) “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (verses 24-25)
I think a reason God’s mercy is new every morning is because we need it fresh every day. There is no punch card we use to stock up on mercy for the next week or so in our walk with Jesus. Why? Because God wants to have relationship with us – every day. I need Him to tether me, bind me tightly to His side so I’ll stay close, have mercy I need so desperately, wisdom to do what’s right, and strength to overcome the human side of me that can be so contrary to Him.
I’m facing some ugly attitudes in my heart today and feeling an intense need for God’s mercy. I’ve been angry things didn’t turn out as I prayed or hoped and in my heart stomped like a spoiled child. How dare I doubt the goodness of God or His love for me over such foolish, temporary, selfish things?? I feel like Paul and want to say “Why do I do this? Why do I draw so close sometimes and walk smack dab in the middle of the path and then other times stand back stubbornly with arms folded across my chest not liking the way the path is turning. Why am I so quick to forget what God’s done for me and my family? How can I be cynical about His love and goodness??” That seems incredible but I admit honestly that it happens – especially in disappointment. In those moments I’ve forgotten that I deserve death but God, in His amazing mercy, spares me, forgives me, and shows compassion. And why does He do this? Because He loves me. He is love.
Maybe you’ve felt the same way or faced the same struggle. I guess we’ll be battling against our old nature until we get to be with Jesus in heaven. Good grief, it can be tiring. How I look forward to that battle being finished! Until then, as my friend Sister Toni used to say, I will pick up my bag of mercy each day as I head out the door. After all, God faithfully places it there for me…new every morning.
Thank you, God. Forgive me, please.