Day Thirteen: Justice, Grace, and Mercy all Rolled into One
READ: Today's reading comes from Numbers 35, with a
specific focus on verses 9-15. Here God
is advising Moses to set up 6 asylum-cities that would be used to house
suspected murderers until they could be tried, so that those who might want to
exact vengeance upon them would not be able to hunt them down. It was God's will that justice be done, but
he wanted it done properly, and without malice.
THINK: Here we are encouraged to spend time thinking
about the God who is making himself known here and to jot down a few words to
Justice, Grace and
Mercy all rolled into one.
PRAY: "For a moment, set aside this
passage. Check in with yourself--explore
recent thoughts, feelings, events in your life and how you've responded to
them. What's primarily on your heart
today? Is anything troubling you? Bring your thoughts to the God who created
asylum-cities. Read the verses
again. As you do, picture God entering
the room. How do you relate to his
presence? Share with him what you've
been thinking, if you can. Does doing so
make you uncomfortable? Why or why not?"
There are so many
places I could go with this, but where to begin?
What really troubles
me today is just the amount of injustice in the world. My husband sits in jail for a crime he didn't
commit. A friend of mine is living
through a divorce and watching the effect it is having on her children. I know that this kind of justice is not what
God intended because this is not justice.
And I have frequently spent time wondering where our justice was that
one troubled girl from a troubled family would be so readily believed over so
many people offering testimony to the contrary.
And as I listened to my friend, I was wondering why it is that people
find themselves thinking that they ought to be able to do whatever they want
and never have to suffer any consequences for their actions, and why they will
summarily subtract everybody from their lives that may try to remind them of
the hard they are inflicting. How is
that justice? Well, the answer is: it's not.
And I know that. But it tends to
make me question the goodness of God when He is supposed to be just but there
seems to be no justice for me and my kids, or for my friend and hers.
But, there is
Though our joint
situations are less than desirable, for the most part, whenever somebody asks
me how the kids and I are doing, the answer is fine. Not the "I know you are only asking to
be nice, so I'm going to say 'fine'" kind of fine. But, all things considered, we are doing
well. Yes, our current set of
circumstances bite. But, in His Infinite
Wisdom, God knew that we would be able to tolerate this separation because
we've been through deployments before.
The kids and I are all used to being without the man of our house. This part is no great shock. The reason why we have to be apart
notwithstanding, this is just another deployment, except that this time we are
living in someone else's house. That's
truly been the hardest part of the adjustment, and even that has not been
terrible because we've also lived in someone else's house before. So, while I could find plenty to complain
about, when you get right down to it, I would just be complaining to
complain. And, in my humble opinion,
there's enough of that in the world.
And there is also
Several years ago,
my husband and I had a couple of hard years during our marriage. There were some growing pains and some
adjustments we needed to make. We had
brought baggage with us from our previous lives at home with our families that
was weighing down our marriage. The
patch we hit had us looking at the other person, unsure if they were going to
stick it out. I knew I wasn't going
anywhere. My husband knew he wasn't
going anywhere. But neither one of us
could look at the other person and really believe in our hearts that they/we
were going to stick around. It took us 5
years to get past that hump and during that time, I clung to a promise he and I
had made early in our marriage. He clung
to the fact that he had made a promise to God.
We came through that struggle closer than ever and with absolutely no
doubts that we were going to be married until death do us part.
That was grace for
our current situation because had we not had to live through that first, I
cannot even imagine what this part of our lives together would look like. I do not know how we would've made it through
to the point we have, if either one of us was worried that the other was about
to call it quits.
Of course, our
situation is sad. It is unthinkable and
we should not be sitting where we are (the civilian world wouldn't even touch
our case). But, we are here. The mercy of God has spared me many things I
have not deserved in this life. The
grace of God has given me many things I could never have hoped to deserve. And as for justice, well….the only true
justice will come when we stand before our Creator on Judgment Day. Until then, I have faith that God will use
this trial to strengthen me and my faith for the next trial, and that I will
come out better and more prepared for everything that comes after this time in
my life. It may hurt in the meantime,
but pruning always hurts. The thing
about pruning is: it is always done to help the plant grow into the shape it
needs to, to cut away the dead parts and to ensure that the plant is producing
the best fruit possible. But, there is
still cutting involved and cutting is still painful. So, I will mourn that I had parts that needed
to be cut away, but I will live.
And I will come out
better for it…
…because God is a God of justice, grace
and mercy all rolled into one.
LIVE: Think about what it's been like for you to be
with the God who is both a God of justice and a God of refuge. Has it left you with questions or with new
thoughts on how you want to deal with your sin in the future? Make a note of anything that seems
So far, I've covered
what it's been like for me to be with the God of justice and a the God of
refuge. But, I have not covered how this
makes me think about my own sin and how I want to deal with it in the future.
To say that I have
been humbled through this entire process would be putting it mildly. To humble me, I had to be knocked down off my
pedestal. Truth be told, I was not aware
that I was on a pedestal until all this happened. I had no idea that I had spent a big part of
my life thinking that, as far as sinners go, surely I was the least
sinful. I thought that surely God got a
pretty good deal when He got me, that there wasn't a whole lot of work He
needed to do to get me ready for Heaven.
What a joke! In God's economy,
ugly is ugly and dirty is dirty. There
is no such thing as a little dirty or a little sinful. Sin is sin; dirt is dirt; ugly is ugly; and
it all must be dealt with, even mine.
And I have been made to see my own sin, dirt, and ugliness and to
realize that I need a Savior as badly as my husband's accuser. God will not wink at sin. He will deal with all of it, and He will do
so justly. But not just the sins of the
people who have wronged me. Mine too. The only way to be spared from the harshest
of those consequences is to throw myself at God's mercy, at the foot of the
cross, and claim the blood of Christ as the covering for my sins. And I need to do it each and every time I
sin, keeping short accounts with God, lest I forget or come to think that maybe
"it's not so bad."
My prayer for you
today is that if you do not have a personal relationship with the Savior and
Lord Jesus Christ, you would make it your task today to get one. All sin will be judged, and because God is
Good and Sin is not, it will be dealt with justly, and that justice states that
God will not coexist with sin. You
cannot harbor sin in your heart and hope to offer it as a home to His Son Jesus
Christ. I pray that you would take care
of that today if you feel God is prompting you.
If not, I pray I have planted a seed, or watered one that's already been