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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

I am so disappointed in myself.

I still can’t believe what I did.

(Heavy sigh)

Yes, I do know better.

No, I did not miss the irony of the fact that on the very day that I was preparing to teach others about being merciful (Matthew 5:7) I was struggling to show mercy myself. Oh, the beauty of God’s timing!

I have spent the last couple years in what has been for me a painful situation. It is not by my choosing, nor is it in my power to do anything about it. I had just heard that things might be changing for the better (and this is why one should never listen to rumors – not even positive ones) and then not a week later saw that my hope was premature. I literally felt like I had been punched in the stomach. All day I prayed and wrestled, wrestled and prayed, trying to follow God’s example and be merciful. I thought I had worked through all this, but evidently not, because here I was struggling again.

And then what did I do the next day? I ran. Not to God. Nope, I ran in the other direction. I ran away. Seriously, do I not know better? I didn’t even realize what I had been doing until late in the day, and even then I could not pull myself back on track.

How did I run? I blew my day, wasted my time. I didn’t spend any time with God; I did everything but that. I did a crossword puzzle, a suduko, and another word puzzle – more than I have in the last several years combined! I even played solitaire on the computer, a habit I had given up over two years ago! I realized that night, when I couldn’t pry myself from the computer, that I had spent my day doing everything that I had given up so I could spend more time with God.

In my studies I read that the greatest illustration of showing mercy in Scripture was that of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10, verses 30-37. Respectfully, I beg to differ. While I agree that most of us are not very good at setting aside our agenda to attend to the needs someone else, I think it is much easier to show mercy to a stranger than it is to be merciful to someone who has hurt you deeply. In my opinion, the greatest illustration of mercy is found in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). This son had wished his father dead, took his inheritance and used it to live a wild life in a place far away. Imagine how the father must have felt: puzzled at why this was happening; confused as he searched the past trying to find what he had done wrong and make some sense of the situation; crushed with the pain of loss; fearful for the fate of his son; sorrowful thinking of the ungodly way his child was living; desperate as he searched the horizon for him every day.

The father could have built up a wall around his heart to keep away the pain, but he did not. He could have turned away, but he did not. He could have kept a list of wrongs to hurl at his son should he ever return, but he did not. Instead, he kept the door of his heart open, searching for his son on the horizon every day. When he spotted his son, he ran to him with open arms. He did not curse his son, he blessed him. Somehow the father was able to separate the actions from the person and love him unconditionally.

Day 1 – wrestle and pray.
Day 2 – run away.
Day 3 – return.

I realize that I am the prodigal. Instead of staying and working this out with God, I ran away. I wasted my time on what is meaningless. Even though it was only a day, my Father was scanning the horizon for me, ready to welcome me with open arms. Having been shown this great mercy, how can I not do likewise?

Father, I am so sorry for running away from you when I should have stayed. Forgive me for wasting precious time that could have been spent with you. I mourn the loss. Thank you for welcoming me back with open arms. Please, show me how you do it, because when I grow up I want to be just like you!

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