Had some incredibly sweet fellowship time with a sister today. Chatting about the year, she noted that she has never heard so many negative comments about a year as she has for 2016. I totally agree. In fact, I am certain that life will never be easy again. It’s a sad truth that no matter what happens in the world, media, or in politics we will never know peace on earth. Ever. The earth is groaning for Jesus. He alone restores.
As we spoke, we shared about some tough lessons we had to learn this year. As I recounted some of my challenges, I mentioned that I was at least happy that I could see God’s mercy in them.
Verbalizing that thought reminded me of Adam & Eve’s story and the closing parts of Genesis 3:
22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever-”
23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.
24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. – Genesis 3:22-24
When I was younger, I used to think the Lord was sorta mean for keeping Adam away from the tree. I actually know a few non-believers who have this against the Lord. How could He withhold knowledge that could enrich humanity’s existence? Interesting perspective, yet not at all the lens I read it through.
It was 2016 that I reread verse 22 for the first time in years and I was moved by these words, “less he reach out his hand and take also…” I am totally taken aback by God’s mercy, which is so subtle!
God- being omniscient, already knows the wickedness of the man’s heart here at this moment of the fall. He already knows man’s propensity to self-destruct. He knows Adam will go back to that tree and grab from it. And the truth is he would have, and I would have as well. We all know that the minute we tell children not to do something that’s the very thing they do. I would have touched that fruit as well!! Believe me, I would have.
The fact that God placed angels to guard the tree doesn’t just protect the tree, it protects Adam from Adam!! What great mercy our God has!!!
I look back at my own life and I think, how thankful I am that the Lord didn’t let me get sick while my father was alive and I was busy taking care of him. God kept me from sickness while I was caring for my family, when no one else could! I’m so thankful that God did not allow me to be sick when I couldn’t physically sit and rest. And once I did become sick, I am so thankful that God had mercy on me by allowing this sickness! I could have gotten to 1800 pounds. Believe me, that is in me to do! I am a champion eater. A champion self destructor. A champion sinner. I am an Olympic gold-medalist at gluttony. I could eat myself into the grave, literally. This is the very thing I am currently fighting against. Death by gluttony which is SIN on my part, is the very Goliath I am trying to kill.
But God, in his infinite mercy allowed me to sin to a certain extent before causing me to stop. That is MERCY!!! Jesus guarded me from me by allowing me to have health issues. Though people can easily look to God and blame him and be angry for something like that, all I can see is his love and mercy for me that He would do that to save me. To save me from me. And there’s no guarantee that I won’t die of the consequences that I brought on. But there’s an absolute guarantee that Jesus alone is my healer, my hope, my redemption, my sabbath, my salvation, and one day, only he knows when– my home. That my friends, is MERCY. That God would save me from me and not pay me with what I deserve (hell)!
What merciful acts have you missed in your life because you’re looking at it as a set-back or problem?
I’m reminded of 1 Peter 4:3. When I was diagnosed in 2014 the Lord brought me to this verse.
“For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.” – 1 Peter 4:3
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this verse before, it’s a big one in my life. I think of that verse and I remember a special verse in 2 Peter 3:9 too.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
And these two verses remind me that the time that has past is enough for having tasted every sin imaginable. I have. I’ve tasted many. In my head, comparing it to food, there will never be a new fascinating take on flavor or chocolate, pizza, etc. I’ve tasted it all, or enough. The time that is past suffices for idolatry. And consider how much MERCY and grace God had on you (on me) during those great moments of rebellion, that He didn’t return for His bride. If He had, would I have been counted among her? Probably not, considering my whoredom and betrayal of Him for pleasure. He hate patience for me to wander and then repent. And I’m not special. He has that for the non-believer you are praying for. Keep praying. Don’t lose hope! He saved all the believers. And everyone has a story to tell. Don’t lose heart, the Lord is MERCIFUL and mighty to save. Fight hard!!
Lord, I thank you for your absolute, unmerited mercy! I love you!! I fall facedown before you in awe! Thank you mighty Savior!! Abba King! Thank you!