But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion and gracious, long suffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Have you ever found yourself in a place where you needed mercy? You committed the wrongdoing, you were entirely at fault, but yet you still wished for mercy, compassion, long-suffering and truth? Why is truth wrapped up in those other words pleading for forgiveness? I will address that later in this devotional. First, let me take you back to a time when I was standing before a judge.
As I stood before the judge for a speeding ticket I received while one of my daughters was in the hospital, I recalled that day vividly. I was in my nursing class when I received a message that I needed to come to the hospital; my daughter was not doing well, and they were not sure if she was going to make it. I quickly informed my instructors and gathered my belongings. All I could think about was making it to the hospital and praying nothing bad would happen during my one-hour drive there.
I left the college parking lot and was on my way. About 20 minutes later I began to see the signs saying 64 West. Upon seeing the signs, I was able to breathe a little better knowing the speed limit is 70 mph on 64 W, and I was less than a mile away from my destination. Suddenly, flashing lights caught my attention; I had to pull over and stop. I explained to the police officer my situation with my daughter at the hospital, but he seemed unmoved as he asked me for my driver’s license and insurance card.
As I sat there fighting back the tears, the police officer handed me the speeding ticket and asked me to sign it. I apologized for speeding and thanked him. I’m not sure why I thanked him, but it came out of my mouth just the same. Maybe it was for him doing his job, or ensuring the roads were safe. I rolled up my window and finished my journey. I arrived, and my daughter pulled through that very dark time. Thank you, Jesus!
So, here I was standing in front of the judge, nearly four months later, hearing her say, “How do you plea?” Of course I wanted to say, “Not guilty.” However, I was guilty. I wanted to say, “With a good reason,” but that was not one of my options. All I could say was “guilty.” It was true; I was guilty. I did speed. I saw the speed limit sign saying 55 mph, but I went faster.
Regardless of my reasons, I did speed.
I stood there for what seemed like forever; then I was asked another question. I don’t remember exactly; I only remember the judge explaining that this is when I could explain my reason for speeding or information I wanted the judge to consider when imposing sentence. I explained my plight that day, and offered proof of the situation, even though the judge declined to see it. I got it …mercy, long-suffering, compassion, all with truth! I paid court cost but received no speeding conviction on my record.
That day I experienced mercy, compassion, truth and long-suffering. Mercy is receiving something you don’t deserve. It is compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish. I deserved that speeding ticket; instead, I received mercy. Compassion is sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others. Long-suffering is having or showing patience in spite of troubles.
Truth is the quality or state of being true. Even though the truth was that I did speed, the judge decided to show me mercy, compassion, and long-suffering. I knew she knew the entire story. There were no lies, no deceit, no “what if she finds out the rest of the story later?!” I walked away feeling forgiven without worries of the truth coming out later and the possibilities of more trouble.
Is this not what the Lord does for us? We stand before God guilty; we sinned. He forgives us. Romans 3:23 reads, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” John 8:10-11 illustrates Jesus knowing the truth yet choosing forgiveness. The verse reads, “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, and where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Hebrews 13:8 reminds us we have a God that remains the same: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
God has not changed since the beginning of time. He still loves us with mercy, compassion, and long-suffering wrapped in the truth of our situation. So, there is no need to run and hide, for He knows it all.
“His mercies are new every morning,” and for that, I am so thankful.