summer rains & His mercy

When I come to the Word, I come expectant. I just know He will speak to me and I will listen. And sometimes, I come hesitant too… because I know He will speak to me and I will have to listen.

I do want to listen. and my flesh is weak. I have to listen because my flesh is weak. I NEED THE WORD.

And like a heavy summer rain pouring fresh over the hot parched earth, sizzling on the sidewalk and washing away the dry baseball fields’ dirt, THE WORD is washing over me.

I have just started a study, Beth Moore’s, Jesus the One and Only, with my friend, Carolyn. We were together in a study through the fall and spring with a group of great women and when it ended, I told her I really wanted to study through the Word together in the summer. I cannot remember if she chose or if I chose this study, but  I can tell you that when I saw the book, I realized I hadn’t made my expectations clear.

I thought we would choose something light, easy, encouraging. And the Word is always refreshing and encouraging, but as I glanced through this book, and even at the cover art for the study, (and for heaven’s sakes, had I not read the title and did it not dawn on me that this book was gonna be about JESUS!?) I silently thought, well, this is more than I meant.

Certainly it is. and certainly He is more than we realized. More than our expectations. More than a first glance, more than what we meant when we asked…

But already as I have finished the study’s first week, as the Lord’s washing rain has pounded through my head and heart, I am thankful for the rain. Thankful for THE WORD.

The study begins in Luke 1 and true to Beth Moore-fashion she envisions the scenes and gives you her imagination. She asks good questions, she shows you glimpses of Jesus, who hasn’t been born yet, though He is the firstborn of all creation.

Gabriel comes to Zechariah as a Warrior of Light, a fierce some thing to behold. Zechariah, a priest, is keeping the priestly regulations, and after years of silence from the Lord, generations even,  Zechariah is old now. He is diligent and he is righteous, and I imagine that he feels like he knows what to expect with life.

…And then a warrior of light appears! I mean come on! It is truly amazing he didn’t have a heart attack. I think it was pretty brave that he responds to the angel. (Apparently the angel thought it was a bit dumb, too) And … well the whole thing is just overwhelming.

And then life comes just the way it always has, – the way we expect, though it’s a miracle every time – through a woman waiting, through her womb. talk about BIG AND GREAT colliding with small and common.

(…Elizabeth and Mary sing songs of praise about the Lord to the Lord over their children – if that isn’t a model to all of us moms….)

I never realized the timing of Zechariah’s mouth being opened – his mouth is opened not when Elizabeth has their baby, which is what I had always imagined, but when family and friends gather and question, what’s this baby’s name?, and he responds, eight days after the little boy is born, mouth opened and filled with words, John.

All of this common and great and amazing and small culminates under the wide embrace of God’s mercy — it is because of His great mercy toward us that John prepares the way for Jesus, that John preaches the Gospel, and even that John grows and becomes great in spirit…

And this really rested with me because I took a gifts of the Spirit assessment online the other day – I am pretty sure at the prompting of the Holy Spirit – it’s something that I have not done in a long while, and someone encouraged me along with a whole group of people – to do this and then to use your gifts for the Lord – so I took the test and ‘scored’ high in faith and teaching, but my lowest – and it was LOW – was “mercy.” So I told Tyler I just know the Lord was showing me not as much what my gifts are but where I am lacking and to ask Him to give me and to grow me in His mercy – and then the next day, here I am, reading about God’s great mercy towards us… and I know he is working working working in me. speaking to me through His Word. Washing me clean and good and sweet-smelling and dressing me in fresh from the dryer warm robe of righteousness.

… and even if it means that the Lord silences me like he silenced Zechariah so that this respected, elderly, godly priest could stand back and only watch the Lord work, then Lord, please, Your will be done. Mercy.

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