[The following post is one of several under the heading of “A New Normal” addressing our response to the Coronavirus outbreak. They are written to the family at Bishop Creek Community Church. I was asked to make them available as an encouragement to all.]
In the midst of adversity, it is often difficult to recognize our blessings; it isn’t that they are absent, but that we allow them to get mired in our pain, or in the crazy of life. Before we can comprehend what God could be doing, we need to acknowledge that blessings are still before us. The Prophet Jeremiah captures this truth well, the love, the mercy, and the reality that deliverance and salvation are always from the hand of the Lord.
In the midst of an otherwise sobering book of consequences, Lamentations 3:22-23 stands out as the beautiful pearl of promise:
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
God is love: strong, robust, consistent, and eternal. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that His love never ceases. One of the ways this love is communicated is through the mercies extended to His own.
In the context of a contrary world pressing against us, the Lord’s hand is still at work pouring out divine mercy upon His Creation. Mercies–blessings we do not deserve, falling upon us from the sovereign hand as an expression of His faithfulness.
Most would interpret these verses as taking place in the early morning hours, perhaps at sunrise, as rays are climbing over the surrounding mountains, or even when the clouds give way to shades of grey and white, or maybe when birds begin to sing. But, I would suggest those mercies begin much sooner than that; I would contend they begin every day at 12:00:00 a.m.; when a new day begins!
While minds are radically engaged in REM sleep and dreams, our first mercy is expressed in the days’ first heartbeat, the days’ first breath. Life is coursing through our veins and the Sovereign of all Creation has seen to it that we are still engaged in this gift called life. Giving life where only death was deserved.
Like a string of unending pearls, subsequent mercies flow throughout the day.
The mercy of the bed in which we sleep. The mercy of the house under which we sleep. The cosmological mercies at work in the world while we sleep. And the protection of us as we slumber. The mercies never sleep.
Lest we errantly conclude these mercies reside solely on us, we remember that His mercy rests upon those in the bed next to us, and down the hall in their beds, and across town and the nation. Our mercies!
Even before we are awake our cache is full; we open our eyes having been the recipients of such divine favor.
Do we deserve them? Quite simply, no. But our receipt of such a blessing was never intended to score our own merits; rather, they remind us daily, by the hour, even by the second that something greater, someone greater than ourselves is at work.
As we are providentially endowed to cross the threshold to another day, God has had compassion; He has led the way to a day filled with mercies, repeated, and renewed every single day.
Great is His faithfulness; vast and abundant. He is that way; He must be that way for it is in keeping with His character.
The person who fails to recognize that they rest, and are absorbed in the absolute mercy of God fails to ascribe to Him His faithfulness. But to those who follow Jesus Christ, His faithfulness will usher us into a glorious eternity!
Never ceases? Never.
Never fails? Never!
New every morning? Yes, every morning.
Great is His faithfulness? Oh yes, great; greater than we will ever know.
“Thou changest not, your compassions they fail not,
Great is your faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
Even in light of the present chaos, the Lord is with us, and will see us through; He has not left us.
Expect mercy and know it is from a compassionate God.
My prayer for Bishop Creek is that during these struggling times for all, that we are a City on a Hill, a Beacon of Hope, and that we, the people of God know that He is with us.
- Pursue God with a Zeal.
- Connect with others in the Church.
- Lend a hand to those who need it.
[The Shepherd’s Echo is a previously published TheShepherdsPen]