[Post from 6th October 2010]
I have this overwhelming desire to encourage all of you. I want you to be deeply encouraged. You were meant to live in a continual state of deep encouragement. If you disagree with me on this one, then it just means you have not been made mature in the encouragement of God – yet. But don’t get down about this! Just jump in and be willing to be encouraged, by God and man. We live in such deep discouragement in this world. People are going around like Walking Depressions on the face of this planet. It is heartbreaking to me. How can we survive cloaked in such oppressive heaviness? You can’t… That’s why Christ brought His hope to us at the meeting place of the beautiful Cross, our Tree of Life. Yes, the cross was a bloody, devastating event, but it was also the most beautiful display of sacrificial unfailing Love in all of history. There will NEVER be another display of such Big Love as we have witnessed at the cross of Christ. At the cross, we find Endless Mercy, one of the most beautiful attributes of God’s character. At the cross, we find Christ, in all His Bridegroom love, jealously fighting for His Bride, making an entryway for us in all our sinful, rebellious, disinterested, cheating ways, and calls us inside as His beloved to come straight into deep communion and intimate fellowship with the God of the Universe. This is a good good good God. We cannot understand such love. But we set our hearts for all of eternity to discover this love.
Today, I left the prayer room singing in my car. The line I kept repeating was:
You love to forgive. You delight in mercy.
This lovely chorus is based on the verse from Micah 7:18 that says,
‘Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.’
Last week we had a speaker from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Allen Hood, share on the heart of mercy in God. And he shared such simple yet profound truths. One of the many amazing things he mentioned was this:
Who are we to think that God doesn’t like his job? We somehow think that God is so displeased with us, and so annoyed with the fact that He has to continually forgive these fallen creatures He so regrettfully made (not true!). We think He is fed up with us, and He is more frustrated that He has to keep mentoring us, discipling us, forgiving and redeeming us, giving out mercy over and over and over again, like it’s a distasteful job that he wishes He could just clock out of and go home to get away from. NO! God loves His job! He loves to forgive and He DELIGHTS in mercy.
Delight means ‘to take pleasure in’. So, when God thinks of things He wants to do in His spare time, His free time, and what He’d do for pleasure, He would choose to spend time with His creation, and give out forgiving love, give out mercy upon mercy, for all our failings. He is the Eternal Encourager, who delights in encouraging His kiddies. His beloved kiddies. Who is this God? We can’t quite ‘get’ this Guy!
So, He doesn’t just put up with me when I’m still a work in progress, and not yet made ‘whole’ and ‘mature’ and ‘perfect’? He still delights in His job of growing me up, and cleaning me up, and showing me kindness when I’ve failed Him (over and over and over and over again)? What?!
God, surely this is too good to be true! But Your Word says this. If we did a study through the whole Bible, we’d be astounded at the unfailing mercies of God! He loves His job! He loves to show us mercy, our whole life long, as we fumble our way through the wanderings of a sincere, growing follower of Christ.
God loves to forgive. God delights in mercy. God takes pleasure in mercy. God loves His job.
God loves walking with me through this continual progression of growing, fumbling, getting up, tripping, receiving love, failing, stumbling to walk again……
God thinks He has the best job in the world. What a God. I must get to know You more. I do not know You yet. Perfect me in the way of Your forgiveness and mercy, both to myself, and to others. I must become like You. I cannot find another worthy blueprint of which to build my life upon.
God, thank you for your infinite forgiveness and mercy. You are the most beautiful Encourager. Thank you for the cross. The cross is my only reference point for hope and encouragement and strength. Thank you for intimate fellowship with Your heart. You are generous beyond belief and I love You.