Monday, October 26, 2009

Taking Mercy for Granted?

For my family, this has been The Medical Year. In January I rushed Kev to the ER for an emergency appendectomy. In February I threw my back out shovelling snow and it took months to recover. In April I was present for the birth of my second grand daughter who was then rushed off to a different hospital for various concerns. Also in the spring, after just being diagnosed with terminal cancer, my uncle Merle passed away. There have been other medical concerns as well (including my running battle with IBS and the often debilitating attacks I get), right up to last week when Kev threw his back out at work and came home nearly unable to walk. The next two days showed some improvement but then yesterday he woke up barely able to walk. All the plans I had for Sunday went right out the window and Kev's needs became #1.

Since this has been a running theme all year, I've had a lot of opportunity to consider God's mercy. While a lot of people would take the position that maybe my family has had more than their share, I don't see it that way at all. Part of the reason I don't see it that way is due to something my first husband once said when someone asked him if he ever wondered "why me?" when diagnosed with terminal cancer. He responded that no, he wondered "why NOT me?" He went on to explain that no one is exempt from tragedy, sickness and death, and while it's a difficult thing to deal with, he was actually thankful for the diagnosis because it's what led him to his knees before God, and his faith in Christ. He never had time to mature in his Christianity, but he definitely understood God's divine orchestration in the events of our lives. I was surprised he answered the question this way and it really opened my eyes to what raw faith looks and sounds like.

As I've considered God's mercy over this last year, I've had some thoughts that some may consider extreme. I'm pretty sure most of us (myself included) don't really think about our lives this way on a day to day basis but here is the reality of it:

• it's purely by God's mercy that our hearts continue to beat each beat
• it's purely by God's mercy that we're able to take breath after breath, all day and all night long, day after day
• it's purely by God's mercy that we're able to get out of bed each morning and use our arms and legs
• it's purely by God's mercy that we're able to see, hear, taste, feel and smell

At any moment of any day, any one of these things could in fact cease to occur. When the moment comes, according to God's divine economy for for my life, one or more of these things will in fact no longer work the way they once did. If I make it through an entire day and was able to see the sunrise or sunset, hear someone say "I love you" (or even "he looked at me!), walk from one room to another, breath without difficulty, think clearly, and smell dinner cooking, I literally owe it all to God. In His mercy He allows me this freedom to function and to get through each day with these abilities intact.

I don't think most of us ever think of day to day living this way. I don't think most of us end the day thanking God that He allowed our hearts to beat, our eyes to work, and our hands to hold someone we love. I think most of us just take these things for granted and assume because they've always worked, that they always will. I think most of us would probably ask "why ME!?" were these things to stop functioning the way we've become accustomed to. I think most of us go through days, weeks months and maybe even years or lifetimes never really considering how fearfully and wonderfully made we truly are, and Who holds our very breath and beating heart in His hand.

The older we get, the more sickness, trials, tragedies and death we'll experience all around us. From friends, family members, church family, even celebrities passing away will cause us to realize we are in a generation that is indeed passing away, little by little. That's just the way it is. 2009 has sort of been a wake up call for me in the sense that I realize more acutely now that it is indeed God's mercy that I wake up every day, even with all the aches and pains and physical problems I have. I know they'll probably get worse the older I get, but the fact that I can still function day to day, and that my problems are not as bad as they could be, for now, is cause for me to thank God every day.

I never want to go another day taking that mercy for granted, and forgetting Who deserves all the thanks for it.

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