I was driving, looking at the awesome clouds wishing my dad were sitting on the scooter behind me in the handicap van so that I could see him in the rear-view mirror. He would point out the thunderheads, tell me how high they were and approximately when the storm was going to hit, he was always right… maybe it was his training to be an airplane pilot that taught him that and gave him an amazing sense of depth perception. He could tell you when he was going to pass a certain point and you could count it down… but I digress… not the point.
Let me start over, I was looking at the clouds and for some reason started to quote the 23rd Psalm.
“The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want, He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His namesake. Yea though I walk through the valley and the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me, for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff they comfort me, you prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemy You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I have written on several occasions about this wonderful Psalm written by a shepherd about the Great Shepherd and pointed out different things, but mostly the statement “He restores my soul”… most needed by the girl writing this, but something else struck me and gave me pause… it was “surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…” The Message translation says it beautifully, “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”So, they traded goodness and mercy for beauty and love…
I don’t have a problem with that however I did a little research on the two words and found these two items:
- In Western (Christian) thought, God is traditionally described as a being that possesses at least three necessary properties: omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), and omnibenevolence (supremely good). In other words, God knows everything, has the power to do anything, and is perfectly good. *Unknown author
- I recently wrote about mercy in a book, “Mercy Matters: Opening Yourself to the Life Changing Gift.” Mercy has touched my life in many ways – such as in my recovery from alcoholism and through my experiences as an adopted child. So, to me, mercy is a “love that responds to human need in an unexpected or unmerited way.” *Mathew Schmalz Associate Professor of Religion, College of the Holy Cross
Point, I was driving along feeling like an orphan, wishing my dad were sitting behind me and forgetting that the Good Shepherd has my back and right behind me, if I take a minute to look in my rear-view mirror I will see goodness and mercy hanging out back there and I am protected, my head is anointed, I have a table full of food (hopefully I didn’t have to cook it), and my enemies know this:
“Jesus loves everyone, but I am His favorite”