We all are in need of a little mercy occasionally. Some are in need of a lot of mercy a good deal of the time. I am one of those…the ones who need much mercy much of the time. And so my heart cries. Mercy!
Indeed, I have cried out for mercy in the dark of the night and in the glorious sunshine of the most beautiful day. For the weather in my heart is often dark, tumultuous and stormy, regardless of the weather the clouds blow in. And the weather in my life is often harsh and unforgiving. Cruel and rejecting. I have begged and pleaded. Knowing I am undeserving. But also knowing how desperately I need that tender touch of favor. We are told we serve a merciful God. A God of love. Who will walk with us through the storm, who will use everything together for good in our life. Who will hold us in the shelter of His wings. We are taught to believe that mercy will come to us when we cry, just as a baby knows to cry to be fed. It is instinct, to cry for the pure milk of mercy. And to expect a favorable response to our cry.
This is why the lack of mercy in my life has been so perplexing to me. I struggle to reconcile my experience with what we are taught to expect. Especially when I have watched so many others around me receive great mercy and favor, even when they didn’t cry out in need. I have watched people who have hurt others on purpose, who have manipulated, been disloyal, cheated, wounded while striving to get ahead, and yet, they are admired and respected. Their way has been made easy and mercy has dripped from the lips of every individual they encountered. It has poured from the sky. It has rained on them abundantly without effort or struggle. They have received grace, been granted favor, been promoted, exalted, handed opportunities, and they have won. While I have lost, been overlooked, been discarded, rejected, and cast aside. Thus, I have failed in the wake of their triumph.
I have cried for mercy, but mercy has not been granted. Not to me.
It causes me to wonder. Am I an unredeemable blight, a toxin, a disgrace? Am I so much less than most that my cries are offensive? Have I done something too horrible to be forgiven? Too horrendous to receive consideration? Or worse, am I something too hideous to be tolerated? Are my cries blasphemy? Am I so defiled I am not in any way eligible for mercy? Am I, in fact, less than dust?
My parents each abused me, both in their own special way. My teachers overlooked me, though my grades were good and I was compliant. Well, until I finally shattered my senior year of high school, at which point, some rebelliousness began to show. My first husband begged me to marry him and then was unfaithful on our honeymoon. I was judged and found lacking. My second husband said he loved me…until we were married, at which point he let me know in word and deed that he never had and probably never would love me. Judged and found fatally lacking again. After years of trying to be good enough, he finally left me for another woman. Employer after employer has overlooked me, though I have worked hard and given them everything within me. They have recognized others who were less effective, less dedicated and less skilled. Others who were promoted, given raises, acceptance, and favor. In spite of their behavior and the games they played. They were the manipulators and they won because they stepped on others to achieve. They were good at one thing and one thing only. Office politics. And so they succeeded while I was cast aside and devalued. My life has been a series of rejection, judgment and lack of mercy. I do not understand. And still I cry out for mercy.
I have pleaded with God to give me favor in these crushing situations and begged Him to have mercy on me. Believing that if I were to be faithful in the work of my hands and to Him, at least as much as is possible for an imperfect human being, He would open doors and make a way without me having to beat them down or back-stab my way forward. But the doors have remained bolted shut. I am not permitted to enter the land of the favored
Friends have rejected me too, moving on to those more cool, who have less pain in their eyes. And now, I’m at a point in life where I have lost everything, literally everything except my two dogs. A point where all I have worked for has been lost and I have had to move to a place I never wanted to live. No matter what I try or how hard I search, nothing works. Nothing is coming my way. I am at a point where I need mercy more than ever before, and the doors remain firmly closed in my face. Locked and bolted. Entrance denied.
I cry for mercy. My cry echoes in the empty silence. And I am alone in a dark place.
Mercy is not deserved. I realize this. By nature, as with grace, it is something bestowed in spite of the worthiness of the receiver. Therefore, no amount of trying to do the right thing, be the right thing, act the right way is going to give one the edge. Yet, there is still a belief there will be some reward for sowing good and compassion. That doing and acting in a certain way will bring the rains of mercy when it is so desperately needed. Unfortunately, my life disproves this belief. I am parched. I need a break. I need a helping hand. Yet the sky is bronze and rain is not in the forecast.
I cry for mercy. My cries dry in the sun and wither in the heat. I am perishing in the desert. And nothing I do to try to rescue myself makes any difference. There isn’t even a mirage on the horizon. Reality is harsh. Mercy is fickle. It turns its head, ignoring me. Ignoring my need. My pleas. My desperation.
All my effort has come to nothing. All for want of a dab of mercy here; a dollop of grace there. I have been judged and found wanting so many times; so very, very many times. Judged harshly. In the worst light. No second chances. Not given the benefit of a doubt. I have begged mercy and mercy has laughed in my face, slapping me away like a pesky fly. Now, I have no other options. Either mercy receives me, gives me a hand up, a shower or two of much needed rain, or I perish in this wasteland.
I beg. I plead. I cry out for mercy. My cries are unanswered.