Sometimes it feels like we frankly deserve none of it: God’s help, God’s deliverance, God’s Spirit, God’s promises. Like Noah’s neighbors or the Tower of Babel builders, we’ve sometimes got it so wrong–as individuals or as communities, even as a whole society–that God would be entirely justified in moving on.
Daniel felt this way, fairly reconciled to the exile he found himself in:
As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice.
Yet, Daniel still had one merit to point to, one card to play. He still had one basis for prayer: Not their merit but God’s:
O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.
This doesn’t mean that if we really mess things up as a nation God won’t let us live with the consequences. In fact, it doesn’t even mean that if we totally ruin things as the Church–the “people called by God’s name”!–that He won’t allow our sins to have their real effect. However, it does mean that we can always pray and always hope, furthermore that God will always have a people, a possession, a holy and blessed witness–somewhere–because God is merciful; that’s simply how He is.
I may fumble that calling, and for that I believe I am still forgiven in Christ. My hope is in being in Christ, which means that my hope not only is Christ, my hope is that Christ will be liked, loved, adored, worshipped, exalted, and glorified on the earth. And this? This shall certainly come to pass, not because of our righteousness, but because of the great, unmatched, unfading mercy of God.
(This post starts off a new Tuesday/Thursday schedule, which I plan to continue until the baby comes around December, at which point I plan to further reduce to once a week. Thank you, everyone who has encouraged me in this writing habit, as it’s helped me grow the character and gifts I believe God would have me use for His glory)