A few weeks ago I came across a little book at a Bed and Breakfast that captured my attention. Hannah’s Prayer by Kenneth Gividen was a must buy on Amazon and I haven’t put it down since. It discusses eight principles of effective Christianity based on the prayer Hannah prayed in her cry to God for a son.
I’m reading the book for the second time, trying to soak up the words. The chapter where I’ve been lingering is on Hannah’s Mercy. Hannah faced opposition from three different people – her husband, Penninah, and Eli. One of them even accused this godly woman of being drunk when she was crying to God.
Have you ever felt misunderstood, offended, mishandled?
Gividen points out the difference between reputation and character. He explains the difference between asking, “Whom do men say I am” and “Who does God know that I am?” (p. 72). He notes how responding to an offense changes when we recognize Who knows our true character. Being mindful of this, it becomes easier to extend mercy to those offending us.
This message is timely because I need to extend mercy. Dr. David Jeremiah said today that extending mercy is not something humanly possible , but requires the work of the Spirit in our lives (Turning Point radio broadcast).
Affirmative. As I have pondered this thought of mercy, the flesh me battles with the spirit me. In order to move past a particular damaging offense, the Lord has revealed I need to extend mercy. I read the chapter on mercy over and over again, because I know I need to release the hurts and extend mercy.
Tomorrow is the day to make this transaction, because of a divine appointment the Lord has established. As I pour over how Hannah, and our Lord, extended mercy, I gain confidence that the task is attainable. But then flesh takes over and I realize I’m just words away from holding onto bitterness and hurt.
Flesh, mercy, flesh, mercy, flesh, mercy.
Just like eeny-meeny-miny-mo. I just hope it ends on mercy.
As I’ve prayed more and more for mercy I can’t fabricate, I’m learning the Lord does change these things we can’t. I can’t pull up a mercy transformation on my own effort, but the Lord can. A week ago I felt fear and hurt. Today I note a peaceful confidence only the Lord can create. If I am willing, He will grant mercy. In His willingness, He grants mercy to me.
This is the command, the formula….as He grants mercy, we are supposed to, too.
As I look at the ugliness of my own flesh, I am humbled he has extended mercy to me.
Like Hannah, I want to overlook the offenses of others, and let the Lord transform the ugliness of sin and flesh to the beauty of His Spirit.
So my prayer today is, Lord, crucify the flesh, so You may live. Extend mercy through me just as you have granted mercy to me.
(And Mercy wins)