Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Might As Well Beg for Mercy

I was born into the church.  
To say my parents were (are) zealous is a bit of an understatement.
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I was a lil shrimp and my parents and their small circle of friends were my team of executive chefs.  They barbecued, boiled, broiled, baked and sauteed God's word into me.  I have been pan fried, deep fried and stir-fried.

In spite of all this sweet marination, I'd never truly studied the recipes for myself. I read the entire Bible as a child, possibly more than once.  However, until this year, I'd never studied the word as an adult.

I doubt one can wholly appreciate Jochebed's faith and level of obedience when she sent her infant son Moses floating down the Nile in a basket if you've never loved a child of your own so much you would give your life for it.
Jochebed placing Moses into the basket on the Nile.
(When I found this graphic it made me cry--life experience is that powerful.)
And can one really understand David's baby mama drama with Bathsheba if you haven't experienced the intoxicating affect a woman has on a man?  I could not.

Bathsheba bathing and spotted by King David.
I began chronologically reading through the entire Bible January 1st of this year using OneYearBibleOnline.  It has been amazing.  I'm thoroughly enjoying re-ingesting the scriptures as an adult with a bit of life under my belt.

Prior to this journey I had a very narrow vision of prayer.  I was aware that God in His omniscience already knows how things are going to pan out, what we are going to do before we do it, etc.

Based on that understanding, I didn't get why people prayed for certain outcomes for things.  It seemed a better use of time and energy to embrace God's inevitable will beforehand, ask Him to help you accept whatever His will was in a gracious manner, then hunker down and prepare for the worst.

But, as I read through the beginnings of the Old Testament, I kept seeing where this person laid before the Lord and that person cried out, and over and over again I saw our loving Father grant mercy.  In my brain this means cause and effect--the fact that God already knew someone was going to ask for mercy is beyond my sphere of understanding and neither here nor there.

I discovered instances in the Bible where God had set out with one plan and then altered or adjusted it when one of His children begged for mercy.

Abraham prayed on behalf of the city of Sodom and whereas it would have initially taken 50 righteous men for God to spare the city, Abraham beseeched the Lord until ultimately He agreed "...I will not destroy it for the sake of ten." Genesis 18:32 (NKJV)
Abraham pleading with God for Sodom.
Moses pleaded with the Lord to be merciful to the Israelites after they convinced Aaron to create them calf shaped idol.  God went from burning anger and an intent to destroy all the people, to mercy--"Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened."  Exodus 32:14 (KJV)

Moses pleading with God to have mercy on the Israelites.
I've had my share of suffering in my 35 years.  It's more than some and minuscule compared to others, yet it has never occurred to me to ask God for mercy.  It's rather odd when I think of all I've been through that I never once at least acknowledged the Lord's ability to show me mercy.

What possible opportunities for relief have I wasted in the past?  
Have I suffered needlessly when all I had to do was ask for mercy?

I certainly have nothing to lose by simply asking.  Worst case scenario, His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness.  "...Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)

For I must "take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.  Indeed we count them blessed who endure.  You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." (James 5:10-11 NKJV)

So, the next time I'm really going through it, whether it be physical, mental or spiritual, I'm still going to hunker down and focus on remaining godly through the rough times, I'm still going to prepare for the worst and say, "Hallelujah anyhow!" but, just in case it's in His will--I'm gonna beg for mercy like I've never begged before.  It certainly won't hurt!

I need to ask a favor of you Prayer Warriors.  My friend and brother, Keese, is in what many would describe as agony almost daily.  Won't you Holla Back!! in the comments, "I begged God to show mercy on Keese!"  Thank you, my sweets.  All my crazy crazy love......