“The gospel says that you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but more accepted and loved than you ever dared hoped,” – Tim Keller
A young girl, who’s gone to hell and back, thinks that she doesn’t deserve a chance in life. Sound familiar? Can you relate? I’ve been there – bad things have happened and I’ve done bad things – but God has different plans for us - plans of mercy, love, and hope.
I recently read, Mercy’s Rain by Cindy Sproles, which portrays the life of Mercy Roller, a girl who was ruthlessly abused by her father and involved in his death. Set in old Appalachia, Mercy’s Rain reminds us that God has a plan to love, forgive, and heal all of us, even those of us, who have been terribly hurt or have others. While reading this book, three things stood out for me:
The healing power of Christian community. Mercy receives healing from God, but equally important, she is loved by his followers. There is a scene in which, Mercy meets another young woman Isabella, a kindred spirit, who she can open up to. Isabella holds Mercy while she cries, rocking her through the night, not asking questions, but just being present. It is the first time that Mercy experiences Jesus through the flesh of another. A striking reminder of how important Christian community is to a hurting world.
There is nothing too big for God to heal. Mercy received literal and emotional scars at the hands of her father. All of us, have at one time or another, been hurt and these hurts endure. Sometimes we feel they will never go away. And, although, Mercy may always have her scars, God through His son, Jesus, mends her hurt and gives her new life. We too, are always, invited to receive this kind of healing.
Nothing is too ugly for God to forgive. Mercy feels implicated in her Father’s death. Could God forgive a killer? We may not be killers, but all of us, have made big mistakes and hurt others. It is, as Rev. Keller describes, we are more “flawed and sinful” than we ever believed. This sin and guilt may lead to crushing, self-condemnation. Mercy’s journey to receive God’s forgiveness for her sins, allows us to reflect on our own inadequacies, and just how desperately, we need to Father’s forgiveness and thanks be to God, he is always so quick to give it.
Last thought: author Cindy Sproles is super cool, approachable, and next week, I will have her as my guest blogger. I hope everyone has a blessed weekend!