Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Encouragement in a dark sin scarred world.

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My email box is faithfully receiving a daily email with a verse of the day. Sometimes the verse jumps right off the page and speak to the current situation, and other times the eternal truth of God’s word transcends the here and now, and speaks clear truth to my heart and mind about how I should constantly refocus the lense of my thoughts. Today’s verse is one of the verses that floods my soul with hope, and promise in spite of what the here and now tells me is true.

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. – Psalm 32:10

The first thing I love about this verse is the contrast. There are clearly two groups – the wicked and those who trust in the Lord. There is a second contrast that affects each group. The wicked will have many sorrows and the god trusters will have god’s mercy compass them.

What I know the verse is not saying is that those who trust in god will not have sorrow. Certainly in this life we will have sorrows that are difficult and sometimes will break our hearts, but as a truster of God we have resources to get through them. Life is complex. Even Job told us that like the sparks of a fire fly upward to the sky, so is trouble a part of man’s life. But we are not left there because we are compassed about with the Lord’s mercy. We have that hope.

Mercy, defined by Merriam Webster, is “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion” An old bible teacher told me years ago that grace and mercy are twins. Grace is god’s unmerited favor, and mercy is God’s holding back wrath from me. They go together as bookends or two pieces of bread in a sandwich and I am the filling.

Another interesting word in this verse is the word “compass“. In this context the meaning appears to be “to surround, or wrap around the person who trusts the Lord.” In our modern english we could also say encompass. In fact the modern english translation of that verse reads “The sinner will be full of trouble; but mercy will be round the man who has faith in the Lord.” I love that. I am very visual and all I could invision in myself (mind, body, soul, spirit) with a big protective padding surrounding me wherever I go.

So it seems that literally by trusting God we have His compassion bestowed upon us. And t his is not something he grants to the wicked.

Instant application – In my professional work life there is a woman that I periodically have to work with on projects. She is always harsh, critical, difficult, and it almost seems like she makes efforts to thwart productive communications and productive activity. I don;t believe I ever did anything to cause her to treat me wrongly, and I know I can only do the right thing in my life, and treat her above reproach. Today in a meeting with her as Psalm 32:10 rang through my head and I realized how sad and most unfortunate she is to not trust the Lord because she does not have HIS mercy compassing her about. She has verbalized her hostility to God, to the concept of faith, or even of religion. And it is clear that life is filled with more that the warm joys of a hallmark card in her life. She is experiencing stressors as the only breadwinner, with her husband now out of work, a big mortgage payment, 2 car payments, and a small child. So life is challenging, and for the first time I clearly see that she does not have the mercy I know in my life. I have always been kind to her, but it just occurred to me that I have not prayed for her, asked God to give her ears to hear, and a mind to trust HIm.

Prescious and mercy giving Lord, I thank you that you promise to compass us about with your mercy. Today I think of this one who does not believe, who seems to have no faith or hope. May you speak to her deep in those places of her mind and her soul, and draw her with cords of love to your salvation. Open now the flood gates of heaven upon her as she struggles under the weight of economics, family dynamics, the pressures to pay all the bills, and to be a good wife and mother in addition to her professional life. And remind me that at one point in my life I did not trust you. Remind me that I have a responsibility to pray. Amen.

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Written by Barbara Bloom

January 13, 2010 at 1:13 AM

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