by Charles R. Swindoll
What those little Visine drops do for our eyes, relief does for our sighs . . . "it gets the red out." Few feelings bring a greater sense of satisfaction than relief, which Webster defines as "the removal or lightening of something oppressive, painful, or distressing."
When we are relieved of physical pain, we breathe easier. Hope returns as pain departs. When a relationship is strained and we finally work things out, that sense of relief is better than anything money can buy. When we finally crawl out from under the load of a heavy financial debt, nothing can compare to that sweet relief.
God calls this divine gift of relief "mercy." That's right, mercy. It's a twin alongside grace.
Grace and mercy are usually seen together, but for some strange reason, mercy seems to live in grace's shadow, eclipsed by her popularity and prestige. Check it for yourself. When the two are named together, grace always comes first. I find the result of that a little unfortunate, because most folks emphasize grace so much that mercy is seldom highlighted.
So, it's time to give mercy her due!
According to Ephesians 2:4, God is "rich in mercy." He is loaded with it! And aren't we glad? If He were not rich in mercy, we might feel secure in God's love and we might be encouraged by His grace, but our lack of relief would hinder the presence of peace. The essential link between God's grace and our peace is His mercy . . . that is, God's infinite compassion actively demonstrated toward the miserable. Not just pity. Not simply sorrow or an understanding of our plight, but divine relief that results in peace deep within.
Paul, after admitting that he was "formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor," was allowed to become not only a follower of the Way, but a participant in the service of the King.
How? Read 1 Timothy 1:13 for yourself: "I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy."
In the simplest of terms, revolutionary changes occur in our lives because we were "shown mercy."
What a relief!
The essential link between God's grace and our peace is His mercy.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.