It took me six weeks to rescue Grace from where she lived outdoors at the gas station where she had been abandoned. She wasn’t just stray. She was stray and injured. She had been hit by two cars, and for several months lived with a broken pelvis and a broken leg. Despite her injury, she would let no human rescue her.
But God did. He sent a man from hours away to meet Grace when he stopped at the gas station, and that man prayed nightly for quite a long time. He sent others, to no avail. Then he sent me, and He used the experience to teach me perseverance as I drove for hours each time I went back to try once more to rescue her. She was rescued at last when God sent an animal control officer from another county to help. Lord have mercy. What a saga. But Grace’s story was not over; it was just beginning.
For months after I brought her home to Walk by Faith Ministry, she would barely let me get near her. Sometimes, it took days to get her inside. Lord have more mercy. I was beside myself with impatience and frustration. I tried to get someone to take her so I wouldn’t have to deal with her anymore. But God had mercy, and He called me to have mercy with her. She went away for a week, and couldn’t have been happier when she came home to what had become her safe haven.
Grace isn’t like ordinary dogs, not most of them anyway. She has known me for months and months now, and still she struggles with anything new. Her routine needs to stay the same, or else. She will only come inside if I approach her the right way, with nothing new in my hand, with no shadows nearby, with no tree overhanging, and the list goes on. Then, when I get near, on a good day she doesn’t run away from me. If it’s a good day, she will slunk down to the ground and slither up to me as low as possible on the ground. Then, I grab her collar and ever so gently lead her indoors. Lord have mercy. I have a history of impatience, and everything that goes with it. I have a history of not showing mercy when I should have. But God is patience, and God is merciful. Just as God has not given up on me, He calls me to not give up on Grace. And, He calls me by the power of His Holy Spirit to be patient and merciful with the world around me.
Tonight, Grace ran away from me when I approached because a tree branch caused a shadow over me. I became impatient, then found God’s mercy. I led her in and realized she would have to go into a different crate because the other dogs had already gone into their little “bedrooms” for the night. Grace couldn’t handle the change; she’s a creature of comfort, is that how the expression goes? So she did her little pee thing, which she has just started doing again when I take her out of the crate and lead her outside.
Oh, how I might have become exasperated like I have so often before. But the same Lord who fills me with Himself, who lives inside me to be exact, also equips me with what I need to live the life He calls me to live so long as I choose His way rather than the way of the flesh.
And, as He has done so often before, He reminded me of this. How different am I really from Mercy? Have I not lived so much of my life in fear, traumatized by the past? Have I not been a slow learner? Has it not taken me forever it seems to feel safe at times? Have I not made my own mess when I have felt afraid? Have I not slithered on the ground for fear of where I am headed next? Have I not been different than so many around me? Have I not failed to place my trust in the one I should trust? Have I not learned to trust Him completely after all this time? And have I not needed mercy time and again, time and again? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Yes so many times. Yes to all of this – and more.
So who am I not to extend mercy? And who am I, when I fall short of doing things with love and mercy, am I not to return to His mercy seat with a heart full of remorse, confession of where I have fallen short, and a thankfulness for His mercy that never runs out.
Mercy, mercy. Lord have mercy. Thank you God for your grace and mercy, and for the reminder tonight that your love never fails and your mercy never runs out. Thank you that you are Lord of the universe. Thank you God that your Word says that blessed are those who are merciful because they will receive mercy. Help me, dear Lord, to be merciful. Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord for teaching me all about mercy – and helping me to be a vessel of your mercy. Help me to pour out the mercy you pour into me, that I might be the vessel that you desire. I love you, dear Lord. By your grace, I will go to sleep tonight cradled in your arms, my heart full of my love for you and yours for me. I love you, I love you. Amen.
Mat 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” KJV
Heb 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” KJV
“Sometimes Grace does things she’s not supposed to do,” I told her fellow Walk by Faith dogs tonight after I had brought her in and she pee’d inside as I tried to lead her into a different crate than usual. “Sometimes I do things God doesn’t want me to do,” I continued, assuming the dogs would enjoy my typical chatter. Fortunately, I was filled tonight with the Lord’s love and mercy – and easily able to give her mercy. I don’t always show people and dogs mercy, but the closer I get to the Lord the more I desire to be like Him. Loving, compassionate, forgiving and merciful.
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