As we continue in our pilgrimage through the Jubilee of Mercy, I have been trying to jot down thoughts on mercy as they come to me. I will share one here a very personal reflection I wrote down in my journal last November on a Sunday morning:
Insomnia seems to be a Cross bound to parenthood. Sleepless with worry about your children, their future, the past, your failures. Such dark things plague the night. A friend who suffers similar night terrors told me she calls this not the “dark night of the soul” but the “black night of the soul.” She’s a mom of adult children and says she hopes it’s vicarious suffering, redemptive for her children. She said when she saw the Frank Darabont directed movie, The Green Mile, she thought: “God, allow me to carry my children’s burdens in that way.” A sort of hidden combat on their behalf. She rewrote Colossians 1:28 for her children: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, my children.” … Every night when I pray before sleep, I say to God: “Be a Father for them, supply for all of my failings and use them for their good” … For me it’s God’s mercy that saves me from sinking on those occasions into the darkness of despair. “Jesus, I trust in you” is my mantra. As I am at times assailed at night by the memory of evils, the terrible sight of failure, the sting of regrets, chaotic fears — I place myself within the fathomless sea of mercy and consent to drown … I looked at the crucifix last night, at His face, and wrote:
Mercy is the healing balm that flows from love slain under the blows of evil. I let go, succumbed to it, surrendered the blows to love. Being flawless is not the point. At once, Psalm 91:7; Psalm 131:2; Habakkuk 3:17-19; Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 8:28, 38-39 in succession washed over me, and all the darkness of my inner tomb was transubstantiated. Still dark, same sins and failures and regrets, just full of dark hope now. Paradox. Psalm 4:8 lulled me to sleep: “I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
The safety that nothing is lost in the Kingdom, where even the dross becomes gold. As I drifted off to sleep, the thousand holes torn in my soul seemed to spring with water out onto the parched earth.
I laughed with barren Sarah.
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Here are those Scripture texts:
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand fall at your right,
you, it will never approach — Psalm 91:7
Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
A weaned child on its mother’s breast,
even so is my soul. — Psalm 131:2
For though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit appears on the vine,
Though the yield of the olive fails
and the terraces produce no nourishment,
Though the flocks disappear from the fold
and there is no herd in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord
and exult in my saving God.
God, my Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet swift as those of deer
and enables me to tread upon the heights. — Habakkuk 3:17-19
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. — Matthew 6:25-34
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:28, 38-39