I may fight and strive, run and rave, to reach distant visions of personal victory and gain only to end up in the middle of a religious mirage. The destinations we run to are not so much the point of our lives as is the journey we are on. Throughout our pilgrimage, through all the hardships and joys, trials and pains, God is simply attempting to reveal unto us Himself.
Often we think that God is there to help us through our pains and trials, to be our coach who trains us to win races of religious proportions. Our ideas of why God exists are often servant to our own personal wants. What we see as the issue we need God to save us from, God sees as the issue that will reveal to us who He really is. It is mercy that reveals God in a touchable way. It is mercy, not our ability to run, that brings us to God. How can I ever know mercy unless I am in the place of need? How can I know God who can deliver until I am somewhat hemmed in? My situations are more of a window opening into Gods abilites than the dungeon to which I feel bound.
Mercy is God’s kindness stooping down to a society that is not worthy to have God stoop. Mercy is God’s way of saying, “I love you.” Mercy is not a magic pill we pray for so that we can no longer feel the pain of life, it is God’s power of love extended in action to His saints. Mercy shows me what kind of God I really have.
David was often surrounded by his enemies, he was constantly at war, constantly in battle with something, himself, his enemies, his family, or his friends who turned into enemies. It was during these battles that he saw and prayed for the mercy of God. God took up a friendship with David that went as far as being with him in day to day life. This is Mercy. God with me in daily battle, not so that I may win, though we always will, but so that I can see that in God I have a friend.
In David’s life he cried to God for mercy over his sin, his mistakes, his battles, his enemies, and his desires for his Savior. What gave David this ability to live in the mercy of God was that he knew who God was. When I come to prayer in place of knowledge and pray for mercy without the heart of faith behind my prayer, I expect God to fail me. In this place I do not believe that I am friends with God enough for Him to show Himself to me in MY circumstance. I may believe that God can do this or that, but I often do not believe that He will, especially for me. Doubt keeps me from receiving the mercy of God.
The mercy of God is the tender part of our Fathers heart toward us, His children. Mercy is the desire that wells up within a fathers heart to pick up his child after he falls and skins his knee. Mercy is God’s desire to help and be for His offspring what they cannot be for themselves. When I view mercy as something that I want God to do for me so that my situation will be better, I have the wrong set of lenses through which I am viewing prayer and God. But, when I understand mercy to be the desire of God to show Himself as my Father in MY situation, then I can have the faith to wait upon Him to accomplish the revealing of His beauty to me in my horrible circumstances. David cried for mercy when he was in the darkest times in his life. It was these cries that revealed to David who God really was. God has an intense pressure to show mercy to me, or better said, to show me Himself.
David had a confidence in God’s eternal mercy, mercy that endures forever. A mercy that endures through my sin, my shame, my loss, my defeat, my failure, my reproach, my grave, and my cross. God’s mercy is raw and real, so real it is often scary. Frankly, it often bends the power of my mind.
He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. (emphasis mine)
The beginning to understanding mercy is the beginning of understanding God. Jesus told the Pharisees that they had omitted the heavier parts of God’s desires for man. They left out things like mercy, faith, and judgment. (Matt. 23:23) The things that man has a tendency to leave out of the make up of God are the things that often make God, God. If we Christians today do not have an understanding of who God is then who will tell the world? There is a constant push in me to believe that God will fail me more than He will show me mercy. Many times in our life our idea of God hinges upon the scripture “…Be it unto you according to your faith” (Matt 9:29) What I believe God to be, often He is, because the Bible says that whoever we submit to that is who’s servant we are. Funny that I find unbelief a better task-master than mercy.
Jesus states that the amount of mercy that we show is the amount of mercy that will be given to us. Showing mercy is when I have the right to extract payment, judgment, and justice from someone due to my position of being right and then not using it. Giving what one does not deserve is the heart of God, it is the heart of mercy. When I do not deserve forgiveness and God extends it to me is Jesus showing me who He really is. If I choose not be accept this gift or if I refuse to believe it, I then refuse to believe in a good God. I create a different God whom I will serve, one who is more cruel and taxing than loving and caring. To do this is to remake God into the image of a cow instead of a loving Father; this is ultimate idolatry.
God longs to extend His mercy to the areas of our lives where we do not deserve it. He does this for us so we can realize that He is better than all the powers of the earth. When God shows mercy it is to make me fall in love with Him again, a love that will keep me from sin, storm, and self.
Mercy is the embrace of God, let Him hold you again. This hug will boil within you an explosive praise!
Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.