Â â€œLet them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for menâ€
Dr. David Jeremiah writes in a recent devotional (8-3-11):
When a gunman shot ten Amish children at their school, the world watched to see the reaction of the Amish community. With exemplary forgiveness, the Amish extended mercy to the man’s family and pledged to heal the community. But the clarifying moment happened before the girls were shot. Details emerged that the killer asked the girls to pray for him. That’s when God’s grace illuminated the horrifying scene. The girls prayed for their killer, giving him what he didn’t deserve, extending love to the unlovely.
No one deserves grace, yet we all hope for mercy.Â He saves us â€œnot by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercyâ€ (Titus 3:5, KJV).Â To grasp the full extent of God’s love for us, it is important to understand that mercy is Godâ€™s withholding the punishment we rightfully deserve (Romans 5:8; 6:23).Â Grace is Godâ€™s not only withholding that punishment but also giving us what we do not deserveâ€”His most precious giftâ€”His Son Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14).
Satan planted doubt of Godâ€™s goodness in Eveâ€™s mind by convincing her that God was holding out on her and not giving her something really goodâ€”knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:5).Â Why would He deprive her of knowledge and enjoyment that looked so appealing?
Our thoughts are similar to Eveâ€™s when we do not agree with, or understand, what our Father God thinks is best for us.Â From our perspective, â€œgoodâ€ is that which is comfortable, enjoyable, delightful, or profitable.Â Therefore, we sometimes doubt Godâ€™s goodnessâ€”especially when it feels as though He is not hearing or answering our prayers to our liking.
It is essential to remember that the Cross, not our circumstances, is the barometer of Godâ€™s love and goodness.Â Â Instead of relying on our feelings, which are ever-changing, we can choose to trust Him more and believe with confidence that He is good.Â His goal always is to develop Christ-like character in us.
Dr. Jeremiah concludes: â€œAre you facing a personal crisis? Â Your heart aches, your world has shattered. Like the Amish with their astonishing healing responseâ€”look for ways to extend mercy. Â Step outside of your own pain and extend God’s love and grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it.â€
When weâ€™re tempted to deny
Godâ€™s goodness, love, and grace,
Look to the cross of Calvary,
Where Jesus took your place. â€“Sper