Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Disruptive Mercy

We have staff chapel every other Wednesday. Sometimes someone from our staff speaks.  Sometimes, someone from somewhere else speaks.  Today we had Dr. David Williams.  He is the president of Taylor Seminary here in Edmonton. 
He spoke on Romans 12:1,2 which says,
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
His main point, after laying all of the ground work of his thought, was disruptive mercy. Often God's mercy is disruptive but it is mercy.  He then asked us to think about times we'd seen mercy extended to someone who completely did not deserve it.  I could immediately think about books I've read like Corrie ten Boom's story of her going back to a Nazi guard and telling him she forgave him. I could think of stories of parents who went to a prison to look their child's murderer in the eye and say "I forgive you".  But those are huge scenarios...mind blowing ones.  How have I seen God's disruptive mercy in my life? Be it bigger situations in my life or daily circumstances? 
I began to pray and ask God to bring them to my mind...and He literally flooded it with big and small examples.  I won't tell you all of them but I will tell you a few:
The most recent bigger one was this move.  My, it was disruptive! And hard.  And huge. I came into January broken from it.  It was like the last straw, for me, in a long line of hard things...years had built up on each other and this broke me...broken again.  In my soul, I felt like I was in the fetal position.  Unable to get up. Without strength to even move. That's very hard to admit for someone who has always needed to be emotionally strong.
But God.  I love those two words. They encompass hope and mercy and my very life's source. But God spoke life into me and in one week's time raised me up from the fetal position into a new and different strength.  His strength. Today he gave me a picture of when He raised me up He broke the mold of what I had formed myself to fit into. God used many people to prophetically speak life into me in that one week.  In all this I see disruptive mercy. I am being transformed day by day. I am being renewed. I feel life surging into me.  His life.  There is a difference. I am being made more like Christ. MERCY.  I could not see this move as mercy at the beginning of the journey. But God...
Another scenario in my life of an example of disruptive mercy is my step-dad.  I grew up with a man as my dad who was mentally ill. He was wonderful when he was wonderful and terribly abusive when he was terrible.  Most of growing up was hard. He was often angry, and by angry I mean he had terrible rage issues. And my mom and I walked on egg-shells every day. We never knew what would set him off. But not many people knew this.  My mom and I kept a smile on our faces and didn't talk about it...he was a pastor for some of my growing up.  Highly dysfunctional. Very scarring.  But God! He often would show me visions of my step-dad as a child and what he had experienced.  And HE would instill mercy into my soul for him. (I am in no way saying that my step-dad's treatment of me was alright with God.  That's a whole theology in and of itself better saved for another post. We live in a broken world where we use our free will to choose sin over God's ways). But I will say God used this life situation for my good.  He worked into me, in my brokenness, the ability to offer mercy and forgiveness to those who do not deserve it. Relentless mercy, that is the way of Jesus. Relentless love. Relentless hope.  It is by His disruptive mercy that He has worked into me His ways...and is continuing to do so.  In some ways, I believe that mercy insulated me from the worst of the scarring that could have happened to my heart, soul, and mind.  There is still scarring...but He is working it for my good and His glory.
The last scenario I will tell you about, has to do with my biological dad.  I did not know that my step-dad wasn't my real dad until I was 8. I had no face to face interaction with my bio dad (that I recall...I did up until 2 but have no memory of that) until I was 24 and that was at my grandparent's (his parent's) 50th wedding anniversary. Then I had no interaction until I was 30. By then I was a mom with 2 small children. We began to have a relationship at that point.  There are many circumstances around the why of not knowing him...but I truly believe that God knew I wasn't ready until then.  I remember my dad standing in my kitchen in BC and asking my forgiveness for not being in my life and me offering that forgiveness. He asked me how I was able to freely offer it? By God's grace...truly. He gave me the ability to offer it freely and wholeheartedly. My dad and I now have a sweet relationship that I cherish more than I could ever express. All of that was disruptive...BUT God worked it together for my good.  
I see His disruptive mercy all over the place. But those are some of the bigger circumstances that He brought to my mind.  :)