Even in our calamities, God acts with mercy and kindness. For decades this has been Jesus’ pattern in our family. If you’ve read my story, you’ve seen that in the middle of calamity, He sprinkles in enormous blessings. He knows our hearts so well! Illustrating His tender care, this latests series of events happened all within three days.
We arrived home from a wonderful time with my sisters, brothers-in-law, and parents. Prayer after prayer had been answered. My eighty-one-year-old father with an irreparably damaged heart had even climbed a mountain! It was incredible. We flew home filled with joy, walked in basking in post-reunion glow, and discovered a mini-waterfall in our basement.
The tubing to our refrigerator’s ice-maker had broken in our absence. Drywall, basement ceiling, carpet, and furniture had been destroyed. My husband jumped into action while I unpacked and made our dinner. The next day ServPro arrived, and we began the process of inspections, insurance adjustor, decisions, and contractors.
Meanwhile, I struggled through a stubborn autoimmune pain cycle that had started in the midst of all the joy of our vacation. This new pain issue crossed a line in my husband’s mind. He now thinks we must call off our 40th anniversary trip to help in India. He believes the 30-hour trip there would be too much for me, let alone all we hope to do after we arrive. I’ve wanted to go so badly. I’m seriously disappointed and hope the Lord reopens that door.
Then, out of the blue, completely unexpected, a blessing occurred that will allow No Longer Alone to publish sooner than I had expected. I was giggly ecstatic at God’s provision as I dealt with the water damage, pondered the loss of India, and prepared for the following day’s bronchoscopy and lung biopsy. One more thing! Thankfully I would be rendered unconscious.
Up and down. Up and down. Look at all that happened in those three days!
I felt like I had whiplash. Life in Christ is a wild ride. Do you see God’s hand of mercy and kindness even mixed in with calamity? It’s there. Look for it!
Focus on God’s mercies in just these few situations: The harmony of family and the joy of my parents. The good upturn in my father’s health. Safe travels. Sacred memories. Insurance that covers the damage at home. Opportunities now to restore and redecorate. My next novel will be a reality sooner, rather than later. My husband loves me and protects me. I have provision for good medical care.
For the difficult parts, God has written down words in black and white that show how much He loves me. The Holy Spirit is the Author of Scripture. He impressed upon the Scripture writers what He wanted inscribed, moving them along as He desired.
What kind of God encodes kindness into law for the one who always gets left behind?
Who cares enough to record a precedent for sick missionaries?
What kind of God allows for and records provision in a way that maintains the dignity of the suffering?
What God knows our pain?
This is YHWH, the One who was and is and will be, the indescribable and incomprehensible. He knows our sorrow and disappointment, and so He records mercy and kindness for those situations. He is not a lightning-bolt-hurling, sadistic, nor angry god. He is a God of kindness and love.
As I consider these examples, they feel intensely personal, as if the Lord looked down through His plan for history and orchestrated these events and recorded words just for me. The Holy Spirit moves within me, tenderly touching my heart in His unique way as I remember His words.
Remember Epaphroditus who went to serve Paul, but almost died on the way. He accomplished nothing. Instead, Paul cared for him. “So then,” wrote Paul of Epaphroditus, “welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me” (Philippians 4:29-30 NIV).
Remember David and those who stayed behind. God inspired David to encode into law that those who stayed behind would receive the same reward as those who went into the battle. Of David’s six hundred men, two hundred were completely exhausted after the initial fight. Because they had no strength to continue, he allowed them to stay behind. When the four hundred who fought on returned later, they didn’t want to share the spoils of war, but David said, “The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike” (1 Samuel 30:24 NIV).
Remember God’s mercy when you have financial need. Right in the middle of Leviticus, we read: “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God'” (Leviticus 19:9,10; 23:22). The Holy Spirit recorded it twice, for our times of financial lack touch and concern Him. He provides.
Remember how He shared in our flesh and blood to know our pain, so He could destroy the work of the devil and “free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15). He came to help us. “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).
These are only four examples, but they touch my heart. His involvement in our lives is so deeply personal. His love knows no borders or boundaries.
God cares for the poor and the foreigner. Do we have His heart? If this is you, do you see His mercy?
He cares for the missionary who can’t go, who is always left behind to care for life at home, or who sickens along the way. Do you feel as if this is you? Are you caring for your family and can’t go? Does your health prevent it?
Are you in constant pain that no one can see? God can.
The Lord reminded me anew of who exactly He is and how much He cares for me, whether sick or well, whether able to travel around the world to serve Him with the poor and needy or not. God sees. He loves us right where we are, just exactly as we are. He is a faithful God, abounding in lovingkindness. This is our God of grace and mercy.
Praise Him for who He is!