November 21, 2011
I Didn't Ask For This
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8 (NIV 1984)
I didn't ask for this. Not this. This mercy ruthlessly strumming the strings of my soul. It's too much and unwanted, really.
Mercy has attempted to get in my fortressed heart for so long. Mercy ... so tender to accept; yet, too hard. A damaging force I haven't time to reckon with.
That's why, brick after brick, I construct a dam. Listening ceases — I slap mortar on. Empathy cinches up — I hold back the river of compassionate tears. Situations are avoided — another layer binds the unmovable bricks around my heart.
A tall dam goes round and round and round allowing little- to no- caring about others. Safely confined, I don't have to deal with the trouble or dig through pain or face the fears of others. It's easier this way.
Then a small pair of beat-up tennis shoes arrests me. Cracked leather pings a hole in my tough mortar. Untied frayed laces push one brick out. Once white soles, now stained brown, crack my stronghold.
Her shoes tucked shyly under the rocking chair in my guest room. Their tongues are still. Without a word, without an ounce of force, this broken down pair breaks through my hardened exterior.
And there, in my guest room, Jesus invites me to be His guest. Beckons my unreliable heart into this ancient exhortation:
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
My dam crumbles; releases a flood of pain within. Nearly unbearable else for His grace of walking with me, holding me up. I'm washed with salty tears, empathizing finally with the loss from destruction that pain has wrecked in her life.
His gentle words remind me He's longed for me to grasp this. To take His hand and see these shoes. The heart behind them. The pain and shame and grief and brutal losses. Her trembling desperate hope that has walked in these shoes.
How He's longed for me to walk a mile in them. Love their story. Love her. Love mercy.
This pain doubles me over. How could I be so cold for so long? Distanced and blind to not see ... really see ... the pain around me? My clinched heart opens (still reluctantly, mind you. It's a scary thing to invite mercy in) to love.
I didn't ask for mercy, but mercy asked for me. For my heart, my ways, my life. Strong-arming mercy for long times was my way; an acceptable thing as it wasn't my number one "spiritual gift." But that which the Lord loves, my soul is created to love. Through Him, for Him, walking with Him.
Dam destroyed, I don tattered sneakers; wade through crumbled bricks and mortar. Walking with my God, I pick my way gingerly through tangled habits of avoidance, retreat, disdain. Going back, looking for those in need of mercy; moving ahead, eyes peeled for those in need of mercy.
If we run into each other, please have mercy on me as I learn how to embrace another's pain; as He teaches me to love mercy.
Dear Lord, thank You for the mercy You showed me on the Cross. Every time I've been in need, in pain, in dire straights, Your mercy never fails. Please teach me to love mercy and walk humbly with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Could today be the day you fall in love with mercy as you fall in love with a child from Compassion International? Sponsor a child today. You won't regret it!
Samantha shares about Michelle and Diego, her sponsored Compassion International children, and her trip to El Salvador here. Please hop over to read more and enter to win The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett.
Do you disregard and avoid mercy? Memorize this verse and draw upon it when you do not want to be merciful. "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
"True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." Tim Keller
Matthew 5:7, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (NIV 1984)
© 2011 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 21 November 2011.