My Resplendent Bride’s parents came up from St. Louis for Danielle’s transplant and stuck around like macchiato whip on a hipster’s face forest. What a pleasant, yet undeserved mercy for said hipster! Which is to say: my in-law’s visits are always a pleasant gift from the Father of Lights because the Lord Jesus has captivated their lives.
I know their presence lifts her spirits. They talk about her childhood in St. Louis, this Bible Church or that Bible Church, cherished memories, and of course: all the things you can do, and eat, there that you simply can’t here.
Common grace is not mundane grace.
Small mercies are massive.
I call them “scrappy mercies”.
Scrappy mercies meet you where you are and stay a while.
Scrappy mercies sit with you in the hospital.
Scrappy mercies are friends who will pray and sing hymns with you in prison (Acts 16:25).
An old Christian book puts it like this:
“But now God hath thus ordered it, that we may learn to bear one another’s burdens; for no man is without fault: no man but hath his burden; no man is sufficient of himself; no man is wise enough of himself; but we ought to bear with one another, comfort one another, help, instruct, and admonish one another. Occasions of adversity best discover how great virtue or strength each one hath. For occasions do not make a man frail, but they show what he is.“
The Imitation Of Christ I.XVI
People wonder what cancer is like. I do not even know for sure. All I can write about is what I’ve observed. I perceive the cancer’s real presence to be nausea, rashes, burning, vomiting, and inflamed digestive organs: not to mention all the unmentionables.
God’s scrappy mercies are daily manna to the world-weary sojourner. Perhaps you are in the same boat, but I imagine the boat capsized long ago. Maybe you’ve been hanging on to the last piece of your shipwrecked plan for ages now.
God’s scrappy mercies are for you.
There is much talk of overcoming.
Some seek to encourage by reminding the Christian that they are adopted by the King of Kings, and are therefore royalty.
I’m not feeling royal.
And, I’ve certainly never declared something into being.
For my part I resonate with a Crucified Carpenter King.
It is not my experience that the Christian is a prizefighter, the Christian is rather more a scrappy street fighter.
Disciples are not prizefighters, we’re scrappy street urchins.
Grace urchins, that is.
There are not flashy robes here. There is no entrance music. There are no pompous entourages or championship belts.
Our King wore a diadem of thorns and if He be so inclined He may well give you a crown of righteousness, after you die.
This life is a street fight. The enemy will fight dirty, attack from behind, utilize betrayal: Yes, mud, muck, tears, and doubt.
Christian, you will be outnumbered, so you’d better have the Lord of Hosts and the Church behind and around you.
The shadow of death waxes long over our lives.
We need scrappy mercies.
God in His love not only sends scrappy mercies in the guise of people, but also leaves scrappy mercies for us to find all over the Holy Scriptures.
Take heart, my son, your sins are forgiven.
6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
20 a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; 21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Or even this scrappy mercy: The Lord says, “You have said so…” twice in Matthew 26. This makes me irrationally happy. He just kept saying it to people (v. 25,64).
“I like the small things.”*
The small things that prove our Lord’s humanity and humor make my heart soar.
I could go on.
God’s scrappy mercies are resplendent to, and abundant for His scrappy saints. Scrappy mercies show up in timely fashion for the weary sojourner as she reads His Word. Scrappy mercies manifest themselves in the form of divinely sent people in our hour of need.
As we dustlings sojourn among these sacred hills and hollows let us rejoice in the timely and potent mercies of our Savior, Christ Jesus the Lord.
* Leo McGary of The West Wing liked the small things. Leo’s small things often led Leo to dig himself into a hole, but it usually worked out because Leo had friends who had spent a lot of time in holes.