Awhile back, Lee had a mom in clinic who needed a fellow mom more than a pediatrician. He gave her my phone number so she could call, and when he got home that afternoon, he gave me the mom’s phone number and suggested I call her first.
Well. I knew I should call, but calling a stranger to arrange a social call is just about the scariest thing for me in daily life. I procrastinated. Had other things to do first. I also felt conviction about it: I knew I was loving myself more than this other woman who needed a friend.
A few days passed, and I was surprised with a phone call from her. You know how the Bible says that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance? That’s exactly how I felt. I knew I had experienced God’s mercy, and I repented of my selfishness. That mom and I became friends.
Now I’m asking myself, what was the impetus for God’s mercy: the sin or the weakness?
As mothers, we instinctively recognize how weakness in our children influences how we parent. If a child has missed his nap, we might leave a party early before he has a meltdown. That’s mercy. Sometimes we can’t leave early, and we deal with the meltdown; yet our attitude leans toward not tempting our children beyond their ability to bear it.
When it’s time to leave the playground, sometimes it’s merciful to give children a five-minute warning. Some moms might give them a one-minute warning, too. When time is up, and that little boy is crying because he wants one more time on the slide, his mama might gently take his hand and lead him home (crying the whole way). Or she might carry him!
A college student told me her testimony once, and described how God intervened to help her break up with her abusive boyfriend. She thoughtfully told me, “I was too weak to get out of the relationship, and I’m thankful God intervened so I could.” She was describing mercy.
It was with great interest, then, that I noticed a passage in Genesis recently, where this idea seems to appear.
God was merciful to Lot by providing a way to escape, yes, but Lot still lingered in response to God’s mercy.
When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. Genesis 19:15-16
Here God’s mercy shows up at a moment of weakness. Lot isn’t repenting; he’s hesitating. In the middle of his lingering, God grabs his hand and helps him to obey.
Be merciful like your father in heaven is merciful.
This is a tough one to grasp at the moment for me but I know I am struggling with some thing like this at the moment and have yet to gain the wisdom to understand what God is doing in my life right now through His mercy. I am struggling with anxiety and it is because I look away from the Lord and to people. I am listening to lies that have crept into my mind. Some say, “What is different between non believers and believers? My response is that I have God and forgiveness. Other than that we are the same. God treats us the same.” But I am so wrong but I cannot get back to that place where I know truth. I need to hunt for it in the scripture and find the difference because it is killing me inside. I need God’s mercy at this moment to open my eyes and show me that I mean much more than I am believing. I need to know that His hand is in my life and it is not my flesh that has gotten me to the place of where I am with my health but that He lead me hear. I just see many others going through the same thing as I have and they are not believers and I can’t make sense of God in all this. I must sound confusing. I am going to stop lol.
I don’t think you sound confusing; you’re just thinking out loud! I think the more we know and love God, the more we will understand his mercy. There is a sense where God’s mercy extends to all of his creation (John 3:16); however, his children receive a different kind of love. I Love Romans 5:1…Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Peace isn’t just a fruit of the spirit; it’s also a state of being, like making peace with an enemy. When I need reassurance, I love to read Isaiah 49: 15-16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.” Isaiah 43:1 is another verse that shows God’s attitude toward those he has redeemed: But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” You see this same idea in John 6:37. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” I’m praying for you tonight!
Thank you Michelle. I am glad that the Lord still uses you in my life and I am so thankful you are a good mentor!