A bright red cardinal perched on the branches of a tree with rust-colored leaves last Friday. Everything else about that day was gray, gloomy and heavy, including the cloud-laden sky.

It was that day that we found out Mom’s cancer had spread to her lungs.

I found the lyrics of an old Amy Grant song from the ‘80s, “Ask Me,” going through my mind: “Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heavens / where did He go in the middle of my pain?”

The resolution to these questions come at the end of the song: “Mercy, mercy in the middle.”

It was these few words that came to mind when I saw the cardinal. Red, bright red, in the middle of a gray day. Red like the blood that fell mercifully from the cross of Christ. Blood that saved me from eternal death.

The skies remained cloudy all through the next day. Some rain fell. I drove around in a bit of a fog, missing turns that should have been easy. But the cardinal flashed like a gem through my mind, like hope in my spirit.

Mercy in the middle. That’s where my focus needs to be. That’s where my prayers are centered. That’s where my expectations are—in the God of mercy, the God who graces us with the innocence of His Son who bore not only the agony of our sin’s punishment, but the anguish of our world’s pain. The disfigurement of disease. The burden of brokenness.

On that sacred head, crowned with the scars of mercy, I set my eyes. There I can see the favor, the goodness, the smile of God that will otherwise be missed if my heart is consumed with the clouds in the background.



One Response to “ “Mercy”

  1. Dianne says:

    What an encouraging post! (Actually I think that Amy G album was from the early 90's, wasn't it?)

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