The other night, our dog Ginger woke us up in the middle of the night. She was growling on the deck, and because it has happened before, I figured the possum that likes our grill was back. When we moved, I lost the little container that catches the grease from the grill, so I temporarily put a 5 gallon bucket under the grill to catch the drippings. That was 11 months ago.
The possum has visited a few times, climbing into the bucket and establishing a good position to defend itself against Ginger. Each time, I handle it the same way: grab the dog with one hand and the bucket with the other hand, walk over to the edge of the deck and turn the bucket over so the possum can run off back to the woods and out of the dog’s electric collar range. I don’t like waking up in the middle of the night, but I decided each time to be merciful. I just don’t think a possum eating grease out of a bucket is a capital offense.
This time, however, things went in a different way, and I learned the limits of my mercy. When I turned the bucket over, instead of running to safety, the possum ran down the steps, took a right turn, and went under the house. Possum in the woods, OK; possum on the deck, fine; possum under the house, no way! I let go of Ginger, and the whole thing was over pretty quickly. My mercy is finite.
The bible describes the mercy of God in a different way. It is without limit. The writer of Lamentations (Jeremiah, we think), said it this way:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Can you imagine? Every day we realize our limitations and inabilities to show mercy to others, but God’s mercies never come to an end. I stand in awe of and am so glad for God’s mercy. I need it every day, and knowing that I can always rely on his mercy makes all the difference in life.
Thanks be to God!