New Mercies

We say it all the time: God is good. But for some, the massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church threatened our belief in God’s goodness. He is all-powerful and He is sovereign which means He could have prevented this tragedy. But He didn’t.sad child

I cannot argue with those who say, “It’s beyond me—to understand how a good God could let hatred take nine people’s lives? I don’t get it.”

2305701220_0fc3d01183_zI agree. It is beyond me to grasp why a good God allows this. But God is beyond me. “His ways are not my ways,” Isaiah 55:8. This doesn’t mean He is any less good. It simply means that His definition of good is beyond mine. (Itty bitty brain. Itty bitty definition of good. Vast, all-powerful, unlimited wisdom and knowledge. Higher, more complete definition of good.)

  2443732503_69fedc69d6_zIs it possible that amidst the ocean of sadness whose waves pummeled Charleston last month, our good God is using thousands of His children to toss pebbles of love—pebbles whose ripple effects are bringing one good thing after another?

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Steven Curtis Chapman’s pebble was a song. His grief rippled a melodic promise that “Love will Overcome” across Facebook and Youtube.

4923394528_5fa7ce163b_zI gathered with other pebble throwers at my church the night after the news hit. We joined hands, bowed heads, wept, sang, and wept some more. As we quieted our hearts to pray, my favorite hymn kept reverberating in my mind’s ear: “Morning by morning, new mercies I see.” A prayer rose to my lips: “God, Charleston sure could use some new mercies. In the days and weeks and months that follow, please send us new mercies so we can look beyond our hurt and see your love at work.”

I left the church and continued with my evening forgetting about the prayer. The next morning, as I typed away at my laptop, a movement outside my window lured my eyes from the screen. I craned my neck to see what was going on. I heard chatter in the driveway and noticed my neighbor getting out of his car. His very pregnant wife’s due date was last week. For the past few days, things had been quiet next door and we hadn’t heard any news.

As I watched the back door of their SUV open slowly, a God-breathed, new mercy emerged in an infant car carrier. Joy beamed across the young couple’s faces as they carried their new baby girl inside. I heard the excitement in their voices as they welcomed her home. Peace softened the ache of my grieving heart. “Thank you Abba, Daddy, for showing me this new mercy today,” I whispered. “ I really needed that.”

baby hand

Charleston, my heart grieves for you. But hold on, because our God is faithful, His mercies are new every day, and He is good.

“Great is they faithfulness, oh God my father. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed thy hand has provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

Be honest: how have such events impacted your faith? How have you seen God’s hand at work in the midst of evil?

28 thoughts on “New Mercies

  1. What a beautiful reminder of God’s goodness in dark places, Maresa! I think the most amazing display of God’s grace has been the fruits of the Spirit displayed by the people of Emanuel AME Church. In the midst of their pain, they chose to forgive something too heinous for me to imagine. I believe God will bless their willingness with abundance in the difficult days to come.

    • Yes, Lyneta! They are truly the most amazing pebble throwers thanks to God’s grace at work in each of their hearts. The ripples have been astounding!

  2. That is so beautiful. I love how God showed you new mercies right outside your window.
    Seeing people of our community show such forgiveness so quickly has been something so wonderful to see. What was meant to bring division, brought love and unity.

  3. Thank you for this timely reminder. Watching the people of Charleston come together to stand against racism and hatred has been such a beautiful picture to me of love triumphing over evil, of beauty rising from the ashes, of God’s amazing grace.

  4. Maresa, thanks so much for inviting me to follow! You are a wise woman and I always come away from times with you, feeling encouraged and loved. I am excited to see what God will do with this new opportunity before you. May all who read your words be blessed and encouraged!

  5. Our God truly is sovereign and He truly is a God of Love. He knows what He’s doing, even though we often don’t understand. That’s what faith is all about. All the families of the murder victims forgave the murderer. Light defeats darkness. Love defeats hate. Our God reigns.

  6. Maresa – how God has given you the beautiful gift of writing. Each word appears to come from His mouth! I cannot wait to see what He has in store for all of us readers! I came across this image that is the ripple effect of forgiveness:

    Love you, Sister!

    • Wow, Ellen! What a powerful image – definitely speaks 1,000 words. Thanks for walking through this journey with me. Your prayers have sustained me, opened doors, and moved this process along for the sake of the Hands of Love children. I’m so grateful for you.

  7. Thank you for the invitation to follow you. I am standing in prayer with the rest of the Hands of Love prayer team over you!

  8. It’s funny how the sight of newborns can jolt us out of a dark moment or shine a breathtaking ray of light on an otherwise ordinary day. “New life” will do that. I wonder…..

    • Yes. There is definitely an awe and wonder factor with newborns. Like staring at a freshly created masterpiece. It’s no wonder as parents we spend so much time just staring at these tiny creatures!

  9. Hi, Maresa! I’m a part of the Hands of Love prayer team. I want you to know I’m praying for your publishing journey.

    Keep using your awesome gift of writing! 🙂

    Love and prayers,
    Amy

    • Hi Amy, Your prayers are deeply appreciated! The publishing journey is definitely an interesting one. But God has led me so far, and I know He will continue to do so. I am learning so much and He is having me step out in faith to do many things that are new territory for me (like this blog.) Prayers have paved the way and more are needed as I continue to take each step.

      Abundant blessings to you
      and thanks again,
      Maresa

  10. Your thoughts in words depict your heart, full of love for your fellow man and your Maker. Thank you for sharing so beautifully as your heart overflows. You have touched my life in many ways over the years and watching God use you now adds a lovely dimension. He has promised that He will work all things for good, and although we don’t always see it with our ‘human-ness’, His promises are always true and He is always faithful.

    • Thank you for visiting, Denise, and for impacting my life for good as well. Agreed- His Romans 8:28 promise never fails even when we fail to see it.

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