Give me a word, Lord: MERCY

Psalm 23:6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Ephesians 2:4-7 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Surely goodness and mercy shall fo-o-ollow me, all the days, all the days of my li-i-ife. I love that song. I giggle when I remember this story that I once heard. Timmy was a little five year old boy whom his Mom loved very much, and being the worrier that she was, she was concerned about him walking to school all by himself when he started kindergarten. She walked him to school the first few days, but one day he came home and asked if he could walk by himself. He wanted to be like the “big boys.” Not wanting to disappoint him, she decided to allow him to walk without her via plan B (which consisted of recruiting a neighbor, Mrs. Goodnest, to repetitiously follow him to school, at a distance far enough behind him that he would not likely notice he was being followed, but close enough to keep a watch on him). Mrs. Goodnest was agreeable, since she was up early with her own toddler anyway, and it would be a good way for them to get some exercise. So, the very next school day Mrs. Goodnest and her little girl, Marcy, set out to follow behind Timmy as he walked to school. Timmy was accompanied by another neighbor boy he knew. As the boys walked to school each day, chatting, and kicking stones and twigs, the little friend of Timmy;s began to notice that a lady seemed to be following them every day. “Have you noticed that lady following us all week? Do you know her?” he asked Timmy. “Yea, I know who she is,” Timmy replied “Well who is she?” “That’s just Shirley Goodnest,” Timmy said. “Shirley Goodnest? Who is she? Why is she following us?” “Well,” Timmy explained, “Every night Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm in my prayers ‘cuz she worries about me so much. And in it the Psalm says, ‘Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life,’ so I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.”

Well, that little Timmy was right. As a Christian, surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life. We can count on it. We know what goodness is, but what is mercy? Mercy isn’t just compassion or forgiveness toward someone who wronged us. Mercy is not giving someone what they deserve even though we have the power to punish them. That thought always brings me to my knees. You see, God could choose to punish every single sin, every single mess up, every single thing I’ve done wrong in my life, but He doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong. God is still full of wrath, and wrath will come when punishment is needed. But God is so rich in mercy that He sent His son to make a way for us to have an eternal relationship with Him. He sent the Holy Spirit to reside within us to “walk us to school safely every day”. He gave us the Holy Spirit as a comforter, but also to help keep us on the straight path. When we mess up, we recognize that we did so, and we realize the need to repent. We feel regret for sinning against our Father, and instead of Him laying out punishment which we surely deserve, He forgives us with His tender love and mercy. Wow! That’s truly amazing!

We have never sinned so much that God won’t forgive us if we come to Him in true repentance. We can never do anything to make God love us more, and we can never do anything to make God love us less! He loves us. He is so merciful! If you don’t have surely goodness and mercy following you around each day, call out to the Father! It’s comforting to know the Comforter is walking right there with me each step that I make!

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