Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lord, have mercy!

     There was a time in my life when I honestly believed that God’s judgment was greater than His mercy. I pictured God sitting on His throne wearing a dark robe and shaking His head each time I messed up. He would add one more mark to His long tally of things I’d thought, said, or done that went against His will.
     I had a hard time combining this image of God with the other one I had of Him as a loving, gentle Father. It was much easier for me to imagine He was counting up my many wrongs when I was so aware that I made tons of mistakes, than it was to believe He was looking for ways to show me His love and mercy.
     There are still times when I struggle to believe God is able to love me completely when He knows everything about me. I find it significantly easier to fathom that He’s able to love other people despite their many flaws, but I’m most amazed He can love me.
     A number of times during my life, God has given me a glimpse of how He sees us. The experience of knowing how precious, lovable, and cherished a person is in His eyes has been almost overwhelming.
     These glimmers of God’s intense unconditional love have usually come when a family member, friend, or a child has been suffering in mind, body, and/or spirit. One day I walked into the office of a dear friend and could see a deep sadness in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong, and she began sobbing. I held her while she told me that she had miscarried.
     From the first five minutes I had spent with this woman the year before that, I had known there was something very special about her. In her grief, I didn’t see her as being weak. In the weeks and months to come when she shared with me her fears and perceived failings, I could still only see her beautiful, delicate spirit.
     There were times when storming the heavens on her behalf that God would show me a portion of how He sees her and feels about her. At those moments, I was completely amazed by His love, knowing I was only seeing or sensing a portion of it. I was struck with how little love I am able to contain and give away compared to God’s. It made me want to draw ever closer to Him, so that whatever amount of love He could give through me wouldn’t be hindered by my own selfishness, pride, or sinfulness.  
     I believe that God’s love and true mercy are most evident when we can see others and ourselves the way He does, as His precious, beloved children. It is in those moments that I am most aware of God’s magnitude, compassion, unconditional love, forgiveness, gentleness, kindness, and mercy, that I want to draw ever closer to Him, so that even as a small imperfect vessel, I may somehow bring these gifts to others, especially those who struggle most to see, feel, or believe they are meant for them, not just everyone else.
     Lord, have mercy on us. Open us up to Your will, that the light and power of your love, healing, and compassion may shine through us to touch others. Amen
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