Thursday, June 16, 2011

Have Mercy!

"Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

When I was younger (a lot younger!) I used to play that game "Mercy" with my brothers. It's the game where two players face each other and grab their opponent's opposite hands and interlock fingers. Each opponent attempts to bend the other's hands back and inflict pain by straining the ligaments and tendons in the wrist. When a player can't stand the pain or overpower the opponent, the player cries out "Mercy!" As the youngest sibling with three older brothers, who do you think always lost??

Now I rarely play that game now, but my cries for mercy still exist. Merriam-Webster defines mercy as "compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject of one's power". Are we not all offenders in the eyes of the Lord? Do we not fall short according to His commands? Don't my four sons send me over the edge? Yet by His mercy He withholds the punishment I deserve for my less-than-perfect antics (Romans 6:23).

Many times this whole "mercy" thing has brought me to tears. Playing the game with my brothers often led to straining and cracking joints followed by tears of pain. But just a few days ago the tears I shed were a result of God's mercy upon someone else. A friend who had been in my daily prayers for a few years opened his heart to Christ. The Lord spared my friend and waited for him to accept Him. God's mercy exuded in His longsuffering and once again I was reminded why His faithfulness is as great as Jeremiah claimed it to be in the book of Lamentations.

So while mercy is not anything we deserve, but definitely desire, know that the Lord is much more compassionate than my older brothers, and He is more than willing to bestow His compassion upon us if we just ask. And we won't even have to get our wrists bent way back to receive it.