November 20, 2011

The Winter is Past

I’ve never been a big fan of mercy. Well, giving it, anyway. I do so love to receive it. However, I turned a corner this summer. In a golden 75 degree balm, I served food on Skid Row. The Skid Row. A concrete forest trashed with pain and needles, confusion and bodies laying dormant. Winterized people, hibernated from the warmth of hope, cheer, good times. Buried under a cold world.

She stood at the entrance of the women’s shelter in the hub of Skid Row, tee-shirt tucked in her gray sweatpants. She sidled up shyly; skittish eye contact asked me for help. A simple request please — a hot meal, cold water.

You see, she’d been in line for these necessities, but cruelty tripped her. A woman with a heart of gold, body in pain, and the mind of a child. She couldn’t defend herself from those who pushed her out of line. Legs filled with aches and swelling forbid her to stand in line all over again. With her only family member a MIA sister and no friends to speak of, she was in desperate need of mercy. If her heart has a song, this would be it.

We walked to the food truck together; bypassed the line. As I handed her scrambled eggs, I longed to give her this truth to nourish her soul,

Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. ~Song of Solomon 2:11

Winter. That season which hides life. Life that should be rejuvenating under a hard ground. Winter should melt… should pass. But what if it lingers?

What if one hard knock turns into 1000 that beat you all the way to your own Skid Row? A too long winter puts to death the hopeful bud waiting out the long dark night. Lengthy cold spells kill the belief tucked safely away, dreaming of a brighter day. Frigid months cripple the life that would have bloomed.

And therein lies the need for mercy. To be given. To be received. Warm, tender, kindhearted mercy that promises the spring comes from His words:

My lover said to me, “Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one! ~ SoS 2:10

Rise up… out of the hardened ground, the cold ashes. Come away… from the chilly disappointments, the hopelessness. Leave the bullies behind.

Just as she found me, neared my side, asked for what she needed. We too can draw near to the Lord, beckon Him for what we need. When life pushes us down, when the pain is too much to stand, when we’re alone. We can ask Him for mercy.

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?   How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts  and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;  my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. ~Psalm 13

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  1. Oh my Father! Please open my eyes & unlock my heart to the mercy that my husband must need. Although I do not know what it is he his battling in his heart, it is very clear that a huge battle is raging. Please show me Lord, atleast one way I can feel then show mercy to this man. I listen to the prayers of our children asking that God to touch their Dad with an emotionless heart. A wall of perhaps selfish protection built up that must come down. I trust my Lord; with him I can trade numbness for mercy, wait & watch.

  2. Heavenly Father, I praise your name and exalt thee for thy tender mercies. I ask you Father that you remember my son Thomas for whom you have prophesied over that would one day speak to thousands of your love and your ways. I pray that you will keep him engulfed by your angels to protect him as he finds his way back to you. Jesus, I ask you to shew him mercy and bless him even from the pit he is in to restore his faith and belief in your ways. Lift up his spirit and eyes unto you that he may feel your presence and calling to come out of and away from those things that hinder him from pleasing you. Let not the snares and cares of this world no longer beat him down in a place that he cannot see you at work. Thank you Father for your love and mercy upon the soul and spirit of my son.

  3. I have read both your blog & the devotion on P31. My sister needs mercy. I can’t say more but I am going to pray about how I can “be mercy” to her. Also, I would like to say that you have caused me to reconsider sponsoring a child-this may be a way I can teach mercy to my two sons.


  4. Terri Davis says:

    Heavenly Father my nephew Joshua is in need of your mercy. The enemy has such a stronghold on his mind please give Josh the strength to break free and open his heart to the love poured out from You and his earthly family. To You we give the glory and know nothing is impossible.

  5. Lord, right now I pray for our sponsored child and her mother. They are living alone in the poverty of Columbia and need your mercy to make it through each day. Send someone to them today that can serve as tangible evidence of your everlasting mercy.

  6. It is sometimes hard to give mercy, sometimes because we don’t know who/what to look for. We (or at least I) get caught up in living our own lives that we don’t even know how to reach out to others…

    Lord, I pray for mercy. Your mercy to me, and mercy to others who are in need of it. I pray that You will provide for those who need You most, and that You will inspire those who can help to do so. Thank You for Your love. Please help me to show it to others…

  7. Praying for my friend Kimberly who is in need of mercy to forgive her father.

  8. Father God, We lift up the innocent children all over the world, those at The Dream Center, those in the Compassion program, and those in my own city. May they fell your love, grace, and mercy. May we have the privilege of being used by You to share these with them. In Jesus Name.

  9. My prayer is for the children of poverty. I sponsor a little girl through Compassion International and would love everyone to pray for all who are forced to live in poverty conditions. I thank our God everyday for how lucky I am and pray that he will continue to help me have the means to continue my sponsorship. Will be praying for the L.A. Dream Center and you Sam.

  10. I am praying for those who are lost in the darkness of their souls without any hope of finding joy, love or peace. May God touch their hearts through the ministry of others who have found the way of Life. The Life that comes from Jesus is real and can penetrate the strangleholds of sin, death, disease, and pain. We only need to open our mouths and speak His name to find joy unspeakable, full of glory that will open our eyes and hearts to a loving, compassionate Saviour. May the words and actions of those who walk with the Saviour bring life and light to those in darkness. This Thanksgiving will then be a day when there is a reality of the real blessing in life which brings salvation to the soul and life to our spirit. AMEN.

  11. Lord of Mercy,
    Please hear my plea. Lord, you have formed Michael in his mother’s womb. You love him so immeasurably, and have a purpose and a plan for him- for his hope and his healing. Lord, he has struggled so much, been through such darkness, and faced so many demons. I pray for your mercy, for your touch, and most of all your peace. Lord, have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

  12. Shawn Bensley says:

    Father God, you are a merciful God slow to anger and you desire that no one go to Hell. Father I lift up SG and SH to you, also CQ and AQ. Father have mercy on them, may they allow the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and lead them to a saving relationship thru your Son. If they already have this relationship with Your Son, I pray they would draw closer to You. In your Sons name I pray. Amen.

  13. LoveNeverFails says:

    Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD;
    and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

    Psalms 72:12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and [him] that hath no helper.

    Psalms 82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

    Proverbs 14:31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.

  14. Kelley Murphy says:

    Father, today I am so thankful for you – thankful for the God given gift of being able to show mercy and love to those that need mercy, Father, whether they know they do or not. I ask Father God that you will continue to use me, to mold me and shape me, and guide and direct me to walk in your ways to reach out with mercy to at least one person today. To make a difference in just one life of the many that are struggling and are in need of mercy and love. We love you Father and with you can change and transform lives – if we would just share the mercy and grace of our Heavenly Father. Father, be with each person today that needs the kiss of mercy – that needs your grace – that needs to be touched by love. Allow them to feel this mercy – and may this bring them closer to you Father and closer to a life built around you – to show them the way, so they too can share the gift of mercy and love with another. We love you and praise you Father, It is in your precious name I pray. Amen.

  15. Father in Heaven. Please give mercy to the Mothers everywhere wishing their children to be safe and loved. For every Mother whose heart is broken each night not knowing where her child is; no matter how young or how old. For every Mother who would like one more chance to say “I’m sorry”, or “I was wrong”, or “I didn’t know”.
    Thank you Lord for sacrificing your son Jesus; so that we might be forgiven and have everlasting life. Help us all to love the children of all ages. Each of the homeless, lost or hurting is a child of God first, but also of a Mother. In this holiday season; may all the Mothers find Peace. In your name we pray, Amen.

  16. Dear Lord, Thank you that you are the God of mercy. No matter how many times I fall into the same hole you pick me up again. Tonight I pray for a sweet friend. I don’t know how many times she needs to circle the mountain, or even why she has to circle it again. It seems unfair and wrong and I just want to, wish to fix it for her. But I trust you God. I trust you way more than I trust my tainted heart. So God grant her mercy, because she is your daughter, because she is beautiful, and because she is your princess, and because you love her so very very very dearly. Help her get through yet one more bump in the road, and come out on the other side knowing that she is loved more and more. Where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Thank you for the blessings and mercy you will pour out onto her life and heart. In Jesus Name, Amen.

  17. Upon reading this woman’s story, I do not have words. My mind is filled to jumble, but my heart… oh my heart links with the Spirit’s to commune with the Father. He knows the cries of my heart… the cries of this precious child’s. May Father God move and work on her behalf.

  18. Father I thank You that Your mercies are new to us each and every day. I thank You that You love us in spite of ourselves. I thank You that when we fall, we are able to get back up again. I thank You that You never leave us or forsake us. I thank You for making us Your Salt and Light in this world so that we may show forth Your glory to all. I thank You that You surround us with Your love. I thank You that before a word from our mouth is spoken, You know it full well. I thank You that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I thank You because we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I thank You because when we wake up, you are there because You promise to never leave us or forsake us. I thank You for being merciful to us and ask that You will help us to also show forth mercy to others. I thank You, Father, that even though we see poverty and sickness all around the world, that You are still there in the midst of it, through the gentle hands of a volunteer, a misionary, a doctor or nurse, an evangelist or even a simple person who loves You and has a relationship with You. Thank You for those who allow You to use them to show forth Your mercy to those who would otherwise be forgotten and not remembered. Thank You for the soup kitchens and those who provide food for those less fortunate. Thank You for using us. Thank You, thank You, thank You.

    In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

  19. Dear Lord, I join all those in prayer, in love and in faith that You Will guide and protect our Loved ones, those so dear to us that you bless us all with discernment and direction and humbleness . Lord, you know my fears all too well. My Matthew’s road to healing after 2 months in the Hospital. My younger son Charlie, having to be away from Matthew and I. I just started back at work in October, Thank God it was still wating for me after being out three months out. We now have to move out of our home, that we grew up in. My finances are not where I would want them to be, I try not to fear, but being a single mom, to start over is frighting and feeling lost at times, and hopeless. I pray for continued healing for Matthew 16 his intestines, his stomach, his bowels, Lord please no infection, no obstrution, no bleeding. and my Charlie 13, healing from feeling alone and (life is not fair) attitude.
    and my charlie having no father figure in his life. Well Our Lord has always and will always be our Father our protector our Jehovah-raah our caring shepherd. Our Jehovah-jireh the Lord who provides. when challenges too great seek Our Jehovah-shalom The Lord is peace. Body sick, emotions
    weak seek Our Jehovah-rophe The Lord who heals will seek you now. God is the sepherd who guides, te Lord who provides, the voice who brings peace in the storm, the physician who heals the sick, and the banner that guides the soldier .( Max Lucado) God is good. I pray THAT WE WILL NOT BE A
    FAMILY DIVIDED. There is so much unrest and anger in our family my mom her sister…Dear Lord Please Evil shall not reign in our home or in our family..Rebuke anyone
    wanting to harm us mentally or physically intentionaly or unintentionaly.
    In Jesus most precious name I pray. we seek. we love. we forgive. we Believe.we Hope. Amen Give Glory to God.Seek Him!!! Love HIm!!! Adore HIm!!! Listen for his words!! Talk to Our Father in Faith! Amen Georgia Matthew & Charlie

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