Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mercies New

Happier were the victims of the sword
than the victims of hunger,
who wasted away, pierced
by lack of the fruits of the field.

The hands of compassionate women
have boiled their own children;
they became their food
during the destruction of the daughter of my people.

This vein of thought comes from listening to a Piper sermon and has got me thinking. Of course I have listened to it a bunch of times now so it is sinking in a bit more.

Those verses are brutal. Can you imagine wishing you were killed with a sword rather than be as hungry as you are currently. Can you then imagine how hungry a mother would have to be to boil and eat her own children? That is pretty hard to connect with normal American life and fatness. Especially as we go into this "see how many cookies we can eat in one day" time of year.

The context of these verses is that Israel- God's chosen nation- His people- His most loved- is under attack from Babylon so severely that there was no food and everything was turned upside down. There were no princes who looked or lived like princes. The elders at the gate were no longer there but were scavenging for food. The entirety of the nation was groaning under the oppression. Could it get worse?

The complete book is just sad to read when you think about how glorious is their position and how amazing it must have been to see them in their prime and how great was their fall. Side note- this could easily be America.

In the middle of a book filled with all this sadness, suffering and starvation comes a few verses of encouragement.
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

I have never had it so hard as to watch a mom have to eat her own children. I have seen hungry children in Ethiopia but nothing like this-yet. Ethiopia was very hard to see, but also good to see and good to then recall. In the midst of that kind of hurting and hunger and in the midst of my comparatively easy life, when things happen, and they always seem to come in groves, many times I am left with "only" His mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness.

This verse has frequently been an encouragement to me, but even more now when I read it in the context of how REALLY hard the time was when it was written. I am often discouraged by the amount of things that are sitting in front of me that need to be carried. If as young people we have a book bag of things that need to be carried and as we get older it turns into a wheelbarrow full it seems that just a little while later we look up to find that there is an entire dump truck full of things, what can we do?

I look at the pile and think it is too heavy. It certainly is too heavy- there is no way I can carry the amount of things in this pile, even if it were cut in half. But instead of looking at the pile and trying to figure out exactly how much it weighs and then figure out how exactly I will be able to carry it and keep it all balanced, I need to be looking to the One Who actually will be carrying the entire pile and realize that that pile is tiny for Him. It doesn't even amount to the weight of a speck of dust for Him. I need to look to the "Carrier" rather than at the load.

How different my life would be if I could just do that each day and every minute of each day. His mercies are here for today's trials, His strength is here to carry today's burdens and when we are weak then and only then is it that His real power can be shown in us.

The hurricane producing, Mt. St. Helens blowing, tsunami creating, heavens holding, wind originating, ocean restricting God is the same God who gives us new mercies for each day's trials. If He can make sure the tide only goes to "this line" on every ocean on the planet every minute of every day, He knows exactly what I need and will not allow more than that to come. I don't know about you, but that is comforting to me. He knows, He cares and He ALONE has the power to change whatever needs to be changed.

"Live near to God, and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities." Robert Murray M'Cheyne

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