With Thanksgiving approaching, it only seems right to write about what I am thankful for. While planning, I wrote “God’s blessings” on my list of what I am thankful for; God has blessed me beyond what I deserve. The list of blessings in my life would trail on forever. I then wrote “God’s love”; God’s love is what comforts and strengthens me daily.
Above all else, I am thankful for God’s mercy.
The Prodigal Son story reminds me of my story. A year ago, I thought I had everything I needed and I ran with it. I saw absolutely no end or ruin to what I thought I could accomplish on my own.I spent myself everywhere I went, and used God’s gifts to me in ways I thought would be beneficial to me, without thinking twice about the God who gave them to me. Just like the prodigal son, I landed myself in a position that was crippling and miserable. After putting it off, in hopes maybe I could help myself again, I ran for my God. I ran knowing I was unworthy of His love, knowing that I had pushed Him away for many months, knowing I was in need of some deep cleansing.
God did not shame me, or sit me down to have a conversation about why I did what I did. He opened His arms to me and rejoiced in my homecoming. I had prepared what I would tell Him, but none of it mattered anymore. The Lord knew where I had been and what I had done, but he was excited to have me with Him again.
I had grown up in a Church of Christ, and I knew very well that He would not turn me away, but witnessing this first hand was so overwhelming. I deserved nothing but to be shut out and pushed away from the sinless God who creates every good thing. Instead, He showed me love and mercy, and welcomed me home. We celebrated, and we still do.
By far, the thing I am most thankful for is that day and every day after. Just the thought of how merciful God was and is to me brings overwhelming joy.
“But when God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4-5
Is that not one of the most exciting thing you could ever read? No matter what you have done, regardless of your betrayal of the Lord, despite your life without Christ, He makes us clean again and gives us a new life! I can barely stay seated at my laptop thinking about that!
He holds back what we, as consistent sinners, deserve. I do not deserve the joy He provides me, nor the daily forgiveness, but He gifts it to me and my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I asked my friend when she has ever experienced God’s mercy and her answer was very relatable.
We often pray for God to just give us a sign of where we are supposed to go, or what we are supposed to do, but when He gives His answer, we ignore it and do what we wanted to all along. That is what Pepper did, as I am sure most of us have.
She prayed and prayed and prayed so hard for God to tell her whether or not she should stay with her boyfriend at the time. She knew what she wanted, and she knew what God need her to do, but she went her own way. God never let her down in answering her prayers, but she had her own agenda. Following her own path, she found herself running into trouble over and over again.
Pepper knows God was merciful to her through her punishments. Though she still had consequences, they were less than what seemed appropriate. Although she may have drifted away from God, He did not leave her, keeping His promise to her. Instead of punishing her to the degree she saw fit, God accepted her and taught her from her experiences.
God made Pepper stronger and gave her a new life. He desires our hearts, and knows we often times desire to follow our own path. God is ready to renew every part of us by his mercy. Let yourself come into God’s presence just as you are, He will clean you and give you a new, wonderful, awesome life.
Oh, Merciful Savior, I am ever thankful for how you accept your broken children as they are.
My prayer for you is to feel His mercy. We all need it; we are all sinners. Upon opening our hearts, God grants us a love so plentiful and full of His mercy. I pray His mercy fills you with overwhelming joy and opens your eyes to just how awesome our God is. I also pray for your Thanksgiving. I hope each of you are able to recognize the blessings in your own life this holiday season.
Until next post, Look Up and Keep Going!