Field Story by Jenn Holden, Cancun
“In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy, He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all all the days of old.”
It was bedtime, and my adopted little brother did not want to fall asleep. We sat in the family room as he screamed his objections from his crib; “I’m not tired! I don’t want to go to sleep!” Then, for a moment, it was quiet. I looked down the hall to find him standing there, eyebrows furrowed in 3-year-old defiance. That little boy had climbed out of his crib and stood in rebellion, daring us to react! He had made a bad choice, and certainly anticipated consequences.
But mercy and grace catch us by surprise as we await what we deserve.
I scooped him up, walking towards his room. I held him close, wrapping him in his “calm down blanket.” His heart was racing. I squeezed him tighter, swaying back and forth. As he rested his tiny head on my shoulder, I felt his body relax in my arms. I whispered to him, “Avie, this is grace.” He gently lifted his head and looked in my eyes, “What’s grace?” he asked softly. I answered, “It’s when you get something way better than what you deserve. I am holding you now, even though you weren’t making good choices. Because I love you so much. Jesus gives us grace, too. When He died on the cross, He gave you something better than you could ever deserve, holding you even when you make bad choices.” He answered, “Oh.” and snuggled in again.
When we taste mercy and grace, it draws us in closer, wanting for more.
I found myself praying for this sweet little boy’s past, present, and future. I prayed he would always feel mercy and grace and would live free of striving, confident he’s been grafted in.
May we always find rest in the Father’s arms of mercy and grace that hold us tight, releasing us from both performance and punishment.
As he drifted off to sleep, I realized I could’ve missed this; I could’ve missed this sweet moment of connection. The intimacy we experienced in that moment went far beyond what Avie could, or will ever, understand. I held him, experiencing the love of the Father. This practice of setting us free and pulling us close, is far more than a heavenly obligation, it is unmatched, intimate love.
For our good Father delights in extending mercy and grace to His children, inviting us into an intimacy that brings Him great joy.
Mercy and grace seem to go together. Mercy – not receiving what we deserve. Grace – receiving far more than what we could earn. Consider the Cross and Jesus’ sacrifice upon it. No matter what we learn about God’s character, or of how much He truly loves us, it’s still hard to wrap our heads around the grace and mercy pouring from the Cross.
We can see ourselves in Avie, calling out objections, and then in the quiet, waiting for the consequences to come. But Jenn, like Jesus always does, held Avie close and reminded him there is nothing he can do that will put him outside the bounds of loving grace and mercy. Little Avie falls asleep, and we can see ourselves in him – resting easy because of what he’s being provided with, whether he deserves it, or not. This is what Jesus does, time and again, for us –pulling us tightly to Him and whispering, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I’ve got this.–
- Can you think of a time when you “tasted” or experienced mercy and grace? What did it feel like?
- What barriers do you face to accepting and understanding God’s mercy and grace? Performance? Punishment? Something else?
- Do you believe God truly “has you” in every circumstance? If you do, how does that effect your story? If you don’t, what are the hindrances to you believing He does?