Monday, January 4, 2016

The Stars

They were simple tin stars, lying in a basket passed down each row. You were expected to choose one. The choosing was to be led by the Spirit as each star had one word written on the back, a word meant for you for the coming year. It all felt ordinary to me, even un-holy, if you will. Certainly far from Spirit-led.
I found myself compelled to choose a black tin star, my least-favorite color. Mercy was etched upon the back. Well, okay. I felt like I'd been learning about His mercy this past year so that word was just fine.
On the way home, my Best revealed his word for the year: comfort. Surprisingly, that felt more Spirit-led as that has been his greatest need lately. That didn't change my lack of God’s-in-charge-of-this, regarding my own choice.
That's when God gave a gentle nudge, more like a poke in the ribs, to get my attention. He reminded me of 2 Corinthians 1:3 that clearly states that He is the “Father of mercy and the God of all comfort.” There was a connection between our two chosen phrases. But how were they connected?
In this verse, the Greek word used here for mercy is “eleos”. Eleos combines a strong emotional element: compassion, love, pity with a practical demonstration of kindness in response to the condition or need of the object of mercy. It assumes a need on the part of him who receives it and has resources adequate to meet the need. As the Father of mercy, God is the author or originator of love and pity that is extended to men, as they are miserable.
As the God of all comfort, the Greek word “paraklesis” is used. In this verse, there is a combination of encouragement with the alleviation of grief. Matthew Henry says, “All our comforts come from God and our sweetest comforts are in Him.” Comfort comes as our hearts are strengthened by the upholding power of the Holy Spirit.
Mercy, the act of God, always precedes the resulting experience in our hearts and lives, the relief from our distress, in this case, comfort.
I needed to know God saw my need and my Best needed to know there was relief. What felt ordinary that morning, suddenly became a reminder that my Father is intimately acquainted with all our ways. He was a God who was in charge of all the details. All of them. Here was mercy. Here was comfort. These two words were messages that walked hand-in-hand, just as we did. In the process, two simple stars had become divine.

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