Thursday, December 4, 2014

Simple Mercies, Every Morning

God has promised in His Word new mercies every morning. But in my humanness and sinfulness, I all too easily forget His promises.

Every day, I am given a choice. I can hunker down in my mound of self-pity and complain about my weariness.


I can remember the mercies of God and rest in His grip of grace. I can encounter each day with peace, even when rest and relief seem to slip just past my fingertips. I can remember that nothing and no one can snatch my from the safety of His hands. I can remember that life is not meant to be easy - it's meant to point me to Christ.

And on the days when I think I can't go any further, He is there to once again carry me through.

Today, I was given a choice. I could gather up my lack of sleep, incomplete homework, alarm that didn't go off, messy hair, and damaged plans and I can wallow. I can hold it all up and show my defiance. See, God?! Look at how messed up this all is. You're failing me. You promised to help me and I'm falling apart. What kind grace is this?! Is this what you call new morning mercies??" 

And believe me, that choice looked way too delectable. It was so tempting. Even right as I thanked God for waking me up to noises I normally sleep through, I could feel the bitterness creeping into my heart. The wondering why, why did God let this happen? My homework isn't done, I need the points I'm going to miss in these classes, I stayed up late for nothing, and this just isn't fair, God! How could you?

I let my heart fester on the car ride to school. And even as my mom requested something of me that really truly is not much trouble at all, my rebellion sharpened. I shifted between trying to make the situation work out in my favor (and conveniently, to everyone else's inconvenience) and being silenced by the knowledge that what I was doing was wrong. But still I persisted, half listening to God and half trying to make it so I got my way, but mostly trying to get my way and then begrudgingly complying to my poor mother's request. That woman needs an award simply for dealing with me pre-coffee/good attitude.

Every Tuesday and Thursday I spend at least ten minutes after I get to school completely by myself. It's usually the only "me time" I get during the day, and I look forward to it. I study for my quiz, let myself get lost in thought, and just enjoy the silence.

But in the silence today, conviction ripped my heart open. And I remembered my other choice for today.

I could put down the mirror. I could look up from my mud pit of self-pity. And open my eyes to the grace and mercy God consistently washes over me. To see the quiet little mercies He sprinkles throughout my days and remember them. To set aside my loathing of a terrible morning and to let my heart drink in His goodness - whether or not my conditions improved.

And with every mercy He gave me this morning, God showed me (once again) that without awful days like today, I could not see His mercies so beautifully. Without pain, joy is not as sweet.

And for the rest of today, I'm making a better choice than the one I made this morning.

I will remember the mercies in an easier quiz and a reading check moved to next week {thus easing my homework problem}.

I will remember the mercies in waking up at 6:07 and immediately knowing that only God could have done that.

I will remember the mercies of a teacher willing to set aside his planned lecture and engage his students in gospel-centered conversation for the full class hour.

I will remember the mercies of Christ-centered friendships that serve to encourage me - whether or not they know I'm having a bad day.

And most of all, I will remember the love and grace and mercies of a God who shines brighter than the valley He meets me in. The God who draws me to Himself, does not discredit my heavy heart, and cherishes my hurts (even when I know not from whence they came). The God who lovingly, but firmly chastens and convicts my rebel heart and draws me back to Himself. The God who gives me a second chance for a better attitude in the afternoon, and the opportunity to reach out to those I've wronged for forgiveness.

I am resting in His grip of grace, and He will never let me go.

My soul has been rejected from peace;
I have forgotten happiness.
So I say, “My strength has perished,
And so has my hope from the Lord.”
Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.
Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:17-25

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