Mercy in Shawls

My four-year-old redefines stubborn. I thought his older brother was a strong-willed child, but next to G, A almost seems compliant. This morning, he really wanted to wear athletic shorts with his church polo shirt. As we live in East Texas, and the temperatures in November are cool, but not cold (according to our northern-born sensibilities), the hubby and I decided not to fight him on it. I even offered to bring a pair of pants in case he decided later that he wanted to change, but he declined.


About a third of the way through the church service, he crawled into my lap and I could feel his chilly legs. I knew he wasn’t cold enough to be susceptible to illness or anything, but I could tell he was probably uncomfortable. I wrapped my warm shawl around him and let him warm up a bit.

As I sat with him on my lap, leaning against my heart, I couldn’t help but think that we are a lot like him. How often do I suffer from some problem of my own making, but God still extends His mercy to me? To so many of us?

To the one who practices poor management of the things given him, and yet God still provides food for his table?

To the one whose life choices lead to poor health, and yet God still provides doctors and medicine?

To the one who does any number of things to result in suffering?

Now, not all suffering is a result of choices we make. Sometimes, suffering comes as a result of this sinful world in which we live. Sometimes it is Satan working to slow or stop the spread of God’s Gospel in Christ. Sometimes it seems to have no reason.

Even so, God’s mercy is evident in small things every day. Moreover, it is evident in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. For our sake he made him to be sin <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28882AI" data-link="(AI)” style=”background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>who knew no sin, so that in him we might become <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28882AJ" data-link="(AJ)” style=”background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the righteousness of God. (II Corinthians 5:21)

God’s mercy is new every morning, every day, every moment. Even when we do not want to hear it, He calls to us and brings us back to Him.

And you were <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29214B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29215D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29215E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29216F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29216G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>were by nature <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29216H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29217I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>rich in mercy, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29217J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>because of the great love with which he loved us, even <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29218K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>when we were dead in our trespasses, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29218L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>made us alive together with Christ—<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29218M" data-link="(M)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29219N" data-link="(N)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29220O" data-link="(O)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>riches of his grace in <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29220P" data-link="(P)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7)

Even when we refuse to wear long pants in 40-degree-weather.

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