We all suffer but, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Psalm 23:6
Goodness and mercy can be wrongly identified with lacking in trial and suffering. Can there be goodness and mercy while in the trial and walking through suffering? When God allowed Satan to afflict Job, was this goodness and mercy?
James 1 tells us, “Count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. “
We know that trials are working for us our good, but is it merciful? When we have to go through pain and suffering, we wonder where is the mercy in that? If we think that mercy only means being spared from trials, then God is a liar and the cross is not merciful but rather an injustice.
We need to back up the lens from the zoom setting of our own little world. God is always good and always merciful no matter our circumstance and I will show you with a wide lens.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 9:10
We are all born under the wrath of God because of original sin.
“For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5
Apart from Jesus, our own goodness is filthy rags. It’s impossible to please God when left to our own devices.
In the last devotional we saw the way God dealt with the sin problem; It was not until God, Himself entered into humanity in the person of Jesus, to be a ransom. Jesus came so that He could die so that we could have life everlasting, restored fellowship with God. We would no longer be under the wrath of God.
This is goodness and mercy!
If this is all the goodness and mercy we ever see, this is abundantly far richer than we could ever imagine.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” I Peter 1:3-4
So we see the greatest goodness and mercy, but even in our everyday life, as we walk this pilgrimage, we cannot always see all the goodness and mercy God is giving us even in the midst of our deep suffering.
When Corrie Ten Boom and her sister were in the Nazi prison camp, the fleas were so bad in the cell they were in, but what was realized was the guards stayed away from that cell because of the terrible infestation. They were thankful for the fleas. The fleas were a mercy.
In your suffering you don’t know what greater suffering he may be protecting you from. We also know that God is glorified and exalted in our weakness not in our strength. Yes, we can count it all joy because the joy of the Lord is our strength. He is glorified!
“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
We, who are in Christ Jesus are in the refiner’s fire. Are we learning to love this fire, knowing that it is in this that we are being purified and He is glorified?
The wide lens shows us how infinite the goodness and mercy of God is. Are we willing to lose in order that we gain Christ?
This is goodness and mercy!
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12