Throughout my junior high and high school years, my father had a ski boat that we would take to the lake during the summer months. It was my job to back the trailer into the lake, unhook the boat, and then park the truck after the boat was pulled off. I remember one instance where a man with one arm was doing all of his loading by himself. Here was a man doing the work of two men, and accomplishing the work with half the resources, so to speak. I then tried to imagine what life without the use of one arm must be like, and quickly realized that it was unimaginable for me, because I had only known life with the full use of both arms.
I have become convinced that this same principle applies to the mercy we so consistently receive from our Heavenly Father. I do not know if it is humanly possible to imagine a life apart from the mercies of the Father; to be alive is to daily experience His mercy.
I remember when my wife and I were newlyweds and we were living in an old, drafty farmhouse in the mountains of Georgia. This house was built in the 1940's and had not known the touch of a plumber or electrician since! But, I remember sitting on the front porch of that house with a guitar and writing a song, "Your Faithfulness Remains." I was so thankful for this little, old house that The Lord had given us, so thankful for my job at Wal-Mart, and so thankful that all of our needs were met. When I stopped to think about the mercies of The Lord, it moved me to write Him a song. Now, if the Lord put me back in that same old drafty, needs-new-plumbing, mouse-infested, “cross your fingers when you turn the heat on” house, would it still be an act of mercy on His part? Sure it would! It would simply be my responsibility to recognize it as an act of benevolent mercy from my Father.
There is a short story at the end of Matthew 17 that can easily be overlooked and forgotten, but is an excellent illustration of the mercy of God in our lives. Tax collectors from Capernaum ask Peter about paying the temple tax. When Jesus and Peter have a discussion about this, Jesus says to Peter in verse twenty-seven, "Go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
Notice the numerous examples of God's mercy present in this story. Perhaps the most obvious is that Christ supplied not only His needs, but the needs of Peter as well. The collectors only asked about Jesus' tax, and yet He takes care of Peter’s taxes. One example of the Lord's consistent mercies in our life is His provision: the gift of His Word, life, health, family, friends, food on the table, and so much more. But, notice one other element here: how did Jesus supply the provision? Peter, a fisherman, was told that the money would be found in the mouth of a fish. Jesus even demonstrated mercy to Peter by allowing him to discover the supply by doing something he loved and was already equipped to do. Jesus could have easily told Peter to go dig a hole in the ground or collect garbage and there he would discover the coin, but instead He allowed Him to know the Lord's provision in doing something he enjoyed.
Do you recognize the consistent mercies of The Lord in your life? They are so faithful that they can become overlooked, or even seen as something we have "earned" through our own hard work and efforts. Let me encourage you to spend time considering the mercies of the Lord in your life, and give Him thanks and praise for His goodness towards you. You will discover, no doubt, that you run out of time before you run out of things to be thankful for. God is so good, and the more we recognize and praise Him for it, the greater our awareness of His mercy in our life.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.