It’s the Jubilee Year of Mercy. World Youth Day just ended, which had a theme of mercy. So of course, we’re going to talk about mercy.
Mercy seems like this abstract concept that’s really hard to grasp, but really all mercy is – is God’s grace and Him taking a crappy situation and bringing good out of it.
Confession is a sacrament that is often a point of conversion (as conversion is a continuous process). Usually there’s some specific thing that God teaches me. And recently, the priest pointed out that mercy is God taking a crappy situation and bringing good out of it.
Last night I had dinner with a dear friend and we always end up having the conversations about hard things. She asked me “what if I get the test and it comes back positive? Then what, my life will essentially be over.” This is a friend who was sexually assaulted and is in the midst of the healing process, who is still getting tests you have to get when you have un-consented, unprotected sex.
I told her she may not want to hear what I have to say, and it may not be comforting in this moment, but it is truth.. I told her there is grace in the moment. If you get the HIV test, and it comes back positive then the Lord will give you the grace to handle it. And if it’s negative praise God.
But say it’s positive, why would God let that happen?
We don’t know why bad things happen to good people. We don’t know why innocent women get taken advantage of. We don’t know why natural disasters occur. All these terrible things that happen in our world, we don’t know why they happen. And sometimes instead of getting caught up in the mystery of it all, it’s better to be content with the mystery.
As we were talking about this 2 people came to mind – Dan Weisenbach and Joe Hall. I never personally met either of these men. But I know their friends, their families. Dan’s daughter was a mentor to me for years and is a good friend now. Both Dan and Joe died from cancer. And cancer, cancer is one of those beasts that we don’t know why God let’s it happen. And many of these things I’m talking about today, we don’t have a choice in them happening to us, but we do get to choose how we respond to the situation.
Joe and Dan both suffered joyfully. There is not a doubt in my mind that these men are in heaven interceding for us, and watching over us. These men lived with cancer. They withered away to skin and bones as the cancer took over their bodies, but they did it all with joy. Because of the way they handled their diagnosis, people know God. And that, that is mercy. That is God taking a crappy situation and bringing good out of it.
As I told my friend about these men, I was then able to point out God’s mercy in her situation. Because of what happened to her she was in a spot where she was clinging to God. Despite it being a terrible thing that happened to her, it strengthened her faith, it deepened her surrender and her trust. It was pivotal to her conversion story. And all of that – that is mercy.
Mercy – God’s grace bringing good out of the messy situations of life.
In this year of mercy, may we continue to live mercy. May we allow mercy to guide our actions, our attitude, our hearts. May we remember God is with us, and will not fail us.