Speaking of ways that irritate, last week we had a check up scheduled for Lydia. My very lucid and intelligent husband had called and made the appointment. The day came, he got off work, I left things undone, Lydia un-fed and napped, we got there, and lo and behold there was no such appointment in the system. I was struggling with my attitude. I thought they should have tried to work us in. I thought they should have at least apologized since it was more like that they forgot to click "save" than that my husband had imagined the whole conversation.
As we left I was acknowledging my wrong attitude to God, not quite at the place of true repentance, when my husband and I both thought and said, "Well, there may be a reason we don't know about yet."
Sure enough, a day or so later, Lydia starts running a fever, and is sick for several days. The shots that she would have had that day, coupled with the germs she already had, could have made her very very sick.
Turns out it was all mercy.
That is a minor example. Such disappointments and frustrations are quickly gotten over. Those of the heart, however, are a different matter. The loss of a loved one, the falling apart of all our hopes and plans...can "these things" be mercy too?
I've been hanging out in Luke 24 some lately. Three days after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, two very disillusioned, dejected, and dissapointed men were leaving Jerusalem and headed toward a town called Emmaus.
Things had not gone as they'd hoped, expected, or desired. This Jesus- in whom they'd placed so much hope, was dead. They had heard rumors from the women that He was no longer in the tomb...that an angel said he had risen. Obviously they did not believe it because they were packed up and heading home...it sounded just to good to be true...and a little bit crazy.
They were talking about "these things" as they walked, and suddenly a stranger showed up and asked them what they were talking about. Dubious that anyone could have missed these headlines, they told him when he inquired further that they spoke of Jesus. When they finished, the stranger explained to them that "these things" had to happen for the word of God to be fulfilled. Jesus had to die, but why? IN ORDER TO CONQUER DEATH AND THE GRAVE FOREVER.
The very "things" that led to their abject disappointment, were the very mercies of God that would bring them a hope and a future beyond what they had ever or could have ever hoped or dreamed.
Are you disillusioned in any way, big or small? Has anyone or anything let you down? Behind the smallest to the largest hurt, misfortune or closed door...maybe...just maybe...Mercy waits.
Do you know who that "stranger" in the story was? It was Jesus himself! After he explained to them how all the scriptures pointed to these events and the fact that that Jesus would die and rise again, He revealed Himself to them, and then disappeared. Needless to say, they packed up and headed back to Jerusalem as quickly as they could to tell the others. When they got there and were still telling their story. He showed up again, and revealed Himself to everyone.
What has touched my heart more than anything in this story is that Jesus, sweet and merciful Jesus, was about to reveal Himself to his followers...but He knew that two of them, so utterly disillusioned had given up and headed home. He loved them so much...He didn't want them to miss His appearing...He went and got them, and then, almost as soon as they got back, He appeared.
Maybe, my friend...maybe Mercy isn't just waiting behind those hurts...maybe if you turn around and look...you might just see that Mercy is following you...coming to get you...because He doesn't want you to miss Him. He just loves you too much. Just look...He is there! Ask him to open your eyes.
Love as Strong as Death
Looking back, now I see
It was you wooing me
In the midst of everything
It was you not letting me
settle for loving anything
or being loved in any way
that would lead my heart astray
Rejection, failure, hurts, pains
Joy, sorrow, loss and gain
Everything had one sure aim.
Now I see Your sovereignty
Waiting Oh so patiently
Blocking my way so mercifully
Until the time that I could see...
Your ravished gaze so full of love
your eyes as steady as a dove's
Your love unyielding as the grave
For this joy your life you gave.
Looking back I realize
You stood with longing in your eyes
With patient love that never dies
Waiting for me to realize...
No love I could attain on earth
Could ever begin to give me worth
But your love is my life itself
Never ending, glorious wealth.
"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" ~Matthew16:26