To leave a space for ponderings...


I can't get over God's sovereignty in all my affairs - how he arranges and weaves and ordains my comings and goings, and the immeasurable grace he saturates - over, around and through - this undeserving and broken vessel of mercy called me. 

My new Starbucks friend tells me she studies new words - and rightfully so, she's delighted with the meaning of grace. The undeserved favor of God, she tells me, but when she reads the tagline on my business card: Cultivating an eye for life's mercies..., she's puzzled and asks, What exactly is mercy?

I give her the answer that's been given to me. It's like this, I tell her. Grace is the gift of God's favor through Christ - favor we don't deserve, because there's nothing we can do to earn it. But mercy is the measure of God's compassion for us in that along with giving us what we don't deserve, he doesn't give us what we do.

She focuses on the wall over my shoulder and I see how she silently flips the words over and over in her thoughts - grace and mercy, grace and mercy. The same but different. Two sides of the same coin - the redemption for a wretch like me.   

I feel God's favor in this conversation across the top of our laptop screens - two women once strangers, venti cups of lattes on the table next to our iPhones and lifestyle worlds apart. I later wonder about the young man sitting to my right who's trying to work, his laptop open, but held captive by two women whose animated conversation has invaded his space as though he didn't exist.

An agent tells me - a year ago - she doesn't like my tagline. It's not clear, she says, this cultivating an eye for life's mercies, and I wrestle with changing it; but sometimes there needs to be space for questions, for curiosity and holy ponderings.

And when you know that you know that something fits, that it's right for you, you hold on and own it - trusting there's a reason. Maybe it's this table in Starbucks. Maybe there's more. I go where God leads me or I dare not go at all. 
That we have received anything good – any forgiveness, any acceptance with God, any glimpse of his glory, any hope of everlasting joy – this is all mercy. John Piper
Agent or not - it's all mercy. It's all grace. And it's all good.