Mercy is His Specialty

Our Women’s Bible Study at church is currently doing Melissa Spoelstra’s study called “Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World.” Last week we looked at Jeremiah 18, and how God is the Potter and we are the clay.

“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best.” – Jeremiah 18:4 (NIV)

What an amazing place to be. Marred clay, in God’s hands, being shaped as He sees fits, into what pleases Him. This is where I want to be.

In my flesh, on my own, I’m marred. The Hebrew word is shachath, meaning marred, spoiled, corrupted, injured, ruined, rotted, decay. I love that God doesn’t look at my current condition and throw me aside. He sees what needs to be worked on, and in His mercy, He does it.

A chapter later, in Jeremiah 19:11, the clay pot was smashed and beyond repair. I don’t want to be like that clay pot! I want to be re-formed, reshaped, because I want to be pleasing to Him. The process is certainly not easy, and not always painless. But it’s totally worth it.

The word mar, as a verb, means to “ruin the beauty or perfection of something, to hurt or damage the good condition of something, to detract from the perfection or wholeness” (Webster’s). I love the picture this paints. In Christ, through the cross, I am a new creation… I am whole… I am beautiful. The world, the enemy, my sin, my self, my flesh… can all mar me. But God, in His mercy, picks me up in His hands, marred clay and all, and sees who I was created to be. He sees the ransom that was paid for my life, He sees the freedom that was purchased through the sacrifice of His Son. He sees the beauty, the gifts, the weaknesses, the quirks… and He lovingly forms me into who I was meant to be.

“Where is the god who can compare with you – wiping the slate clean of guilt, turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people? You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing. You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean. You’ll stay true to your word to Father Jacob and continue the compassion you showed Grandfather Abraham – everything you promised our ancestors from a long time ago.” – Micah 7:18-20 (The Message)

There is no One like Him. He wipes our slates clean, keeps no record of our wrongs. Mercy is His specialty. According to Psalm 103, God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve; as far as the east is from the west – He has removed our transgressions that far from us. He remembers them no more!

A wonderful aspect of His mercy: it’s not a one-time thing.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great is your faithfulness!” – Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Message)

God’s mercy never fails; it’s made new and fresh every morning. Because of His mercy, we can hit the restart or refresh button at any moment of our day. We can surrender – open our arms to His loving hands and choose to be moldable, so He can transform us into His beautiful creation.

 “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

He saved us, not because of anything we had done, but because of His mercy. He took our lives that were marked by foolishness, disobedience, deception, slavery to sin, and hate, and gave us new life in His Son, Jesus. He extended mercy to us when we gave our lives over to Him.

I don’t believe that God extending mercy to us is only available upon our salvation. I believe it’s an ongoing process, a crucial part of our everyday lives. We need to lean on God and His unfailing love and mercy daily.

God has me on a wild adventure right now, learning to embrace and love the daily life He has called me to. The wife and mom life. The endless laundry and dishes life. The picking-up-the-same-things-every-day life. Not taking anything for granted. And it’s here, in this place, this daily walk with Him, that He can smooth out the rough parts in my character. He can tear down that wall around my heart that’s not supposed to be there. He can add a little water to my dry, brittle spots and repair the cracks. And praise God for His mercy… that we’re never too damaged, too broken, to repair. As long as we’re willing to receive and respond to His mercy, He can take the ugly and the broken, the busy and the mess, the stressed and overwhelmed parts of our lives – and make them beautiful, whole, useful, purposeful, new.

“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy {for our failures} and find grace to help in good time for every need {appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it}.” – Hebrews 4:15-16 (Amplified)

God knows what we’re going through. He’s a personal God. His Son knows the pain of our failures and our weaknesses. And He calls us to draw near to Him, to His throne of grace – fearlessly, confidently, boldly. Why? To receive mercy! The Greek word for receive is lambanō, and it’s one of my favorites! It means to take, to lay hold of, to claim, to receive what is offered, to take what is one’s own, to make one’s own… of that which when taken is not let go. Because of His great love and grace, we’re invited to come near to God and receive the mercy He has so graciously offered, and when we’ve taken it, to not let go. To hold on for dear life. He specializes in mercy and mercy is something we need day by day, moment by moment. We have access to it because we have access to Him. Anytime.

I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favorite passages, Psalm 18:16-19, in The Passion Translation:

“He then reached down from heaven, all the way from the sky to the sea. He reached down into my darkness to rescue me! He took me out of my calamity and chaos and drew me to Himself, taken from the depths of my despair! Even though I was helpless in the hands of my hateful, strong enemy, You were good to deliver me. When I was at my weakest, my enemies attacked – but the Lord held on to me. His love broke open the way and He brought me into a beautiful broad place. He rescued me – because His delight in is me!”

Mercy is His Specialty! ❤

This week’s song suggestion: “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle. Click here to listen on YouTube! (Thank you to my dear friend Arlene for sending me this song a couple weeks ago! I love it!)

img_1817A picture of a little clay pot that my sweet daughter Laci made for me in 2013 🙂

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