Why did you lead me here today, Lord? Is it because I spent most of yesterday soaking in the terrible, wonderful Truth of Your Cross? The place of the most horrific death ever, 2000+ years ago… now, the most beautiful symbol in the whole Universe?
“He has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Just as people are destined to die once and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” (Hebrews 9:26b-28)
A Severe Mercy… yet the greatest possible Mercy of mercies. In all of time — past, present and future. Its temporary “disguise” was its apparent finality, leaving only shock and anguish in its wake for those who loved You most.
Until You rose from the dead!
But mercies in disguise are mercies nonetheless.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
What are the mercies You have sent my way, Lord? Mercies that remained disguised until You gave me eyes to see beyond their surface? So I could find and appreciate their hidden treasures, like a miner searches for and discovers gold?
Those experiences — even the most difficult, the most terrifying, the most painful — that made You all the more real to me, Lord? That made Your loving, healing, empowering Presence as vital to me as the air I breathe? And that made Your Word — Your priceless promises — come to life in me, instead of remaining mere words written on paper?
Could Your “mercies in disguise” include the evil acts of others that wounded me, almost to the point of death? Or my own evil acts that wounded me (and others), almost (even) to the point of death? What about my life-threatening encounter with cancer and every subsequent (and challenging) step of treatment? Evil acts and illness that You did not will or cause, Lord… but that You allowed. Evil acts and illness that You did not stop.
How could any evil or illness be Your mercy in disguise?
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)
There is much I do not yet understand, Lord… yet some things I have come to know.
I know how very desperate I was for a Savior. I know it is only by looking through the “lens” of much evil — including my own — that I have come to appreciate how much it cost You, Jesus, to whisper my name from Your cross… even as You bled from the wounds I helped put in You, with my sins.
“Father, forgive Diana, for she does not know what she is doing.” (Luke 23:34)
I also know, by looking through the “lens” of much evil, that I could never have earned or deserved Your Love. Yet You decided in advance to pour Your Love out on me anyway… with breathtaking abundance. Mercifully redeeming every evil, allowing me to experience Impossibilities. Like Healing the Terminally Broken. Forgiving the Unforgivable. Loving the Unlovable.
And I know You, Lord, like never before. You are Abba — my Daddy who delights in me. You are Jesus, the Lover of my Soul and my Faithful and True Forever Husband. You are my ever-present Help and Comforter. You are Able when I am not. You are Strong when I am weak. You have Grace that is beyond “sufficient”… all the way to more than enough. You possess Peace that defies my circumstances. You are Everything of any value to me.
And You have given me a voice to testify about all that was once Unknowable, Unspeakable, Unbelievable. What is now the Greatest Story my life has ever known. Your Story, Lord… written indelibly on the tablet of My Life. Mercies in disguise no longer. Now, mercies revealed.
So, help me tell them all, Lord, with every breath I may have left! Even those new Mercies that await me around the next “corner” of Life…
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)