Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 18, Trip 3 - Haiti Mission - Mercy Defined

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks Your's
Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.

~Hillsong United, "Hosanna"

When I took an online quiz a few months ago to help identify my spiritual gifts, the gift of mercy wasn't something I was really familiar with and to be honest I didn't think the quiz had done it's job. I was pretty sure that wasn't me. I mentally tossed it aside....until tonight.

I stumbled across a blog tonight regarding the homeless in this country and one man's mission to get their stories "out there." The beginning of his blog reads:

On the street I saw a small girl cold and shivering in a thin dress, with little hope of a decent meal. I became angry and said to God; “Why did you permit this? Why don’t you do something about it?” For a while God said nothing. That night he replied, quite suddenly:

“I certainly did something about it. I made you.”

Amazing. Not that I don't already know that God created each and every one of us for a purpose to further his kingdom, but oh what it would be like to hear God specifically tell you, this is what I made you for. Most of us flounder around trying to figure out what God's will is for our life. I'm finding that God just kind of points in you the right direction if you'll just relax and let him. In fact, we're pre-programmed by God with spiritual gifts designed specifically for us and our personalities.

Which brings me back to the original question.....What is the gift of Mercy and do I really have it? (Call me crazy that I tend to not trust online surveys.) The gift of mercy is defined as "the capacity to feel and express unusual compassion and sympathy for those in difficult or crisis situations and provide them with the necessary help and support to see them through tough times.*" In the past 2 days I have found myself very emotionally wrapped up in the lives of friends or those close to the family just due to their circumstances and medical crises. Then tonight I find my heart breaking for the homeless and me wanting to do something. I don't know what, but something. So I cry out to God just as Hillsong proclaims...."break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for the kingdom's cause....." I want to do more....or do I?

You see the problem with the RA and the fibromyalgia is the fatigue and the lack of ability to commit. I have struggled numerous times and probably will continue to struggle with the way I end up disappointing people because they can't count on me, I sign up to help or agree to do something and due to pain levels or extreme exhaustion I end up having to back out of those plans. So while I want to do more and to serve more, what happens when I can't commit or can't follow through with the service I agreed to? But what about the times when I'm not merciful? Does that mean I really don't have this gift? I don't know. What I do know is that there are times when my compassion runs thin....when I've tried to be there so many times and tried to be Jesus to someone or numerous someones and have felt as if I were running into a wall each and every time. But then I hear a song...."if it takes fifteen times, to hear about Jesus...for someone to believe. Wherever I stand in line, I've gotta make a difference, in case it comes down to me....because I may be third, I may be the seventh...there may be years in between....what if I'm fifteen? What if I'm fifteen? What if I'm fifteen?"

Something that God has been teaching me these past months....."you can always pray." You see it doesn't take perfect health or wealth to pray and connect to the heart of God. God hears me clearly whether sitting in a pew or laying in bed. My fear of commitment or rather the fear of rejection from my lack of ability to commit has been the stumbling block for being obedient to God's call. God has been steadily pushing me to start a small group for women battling chronic pain for, oh, I'd probably say about a year now, (which up until recently I was answering with a very firm "but I don't want to!") What I'm starting to discover is that the issue of fear and of disappointing others is precisely why I NEED to do it. Because there are others that are in the same spot and the Lord wants to use them. Jesus wants them to know that they are important to the kingdom of God. The Lord is simply asking me to be a voice, a teacher, a supporter for a population of people that the church isn't listening to or that the church doesn't really understand. But guess what? I do. I know the pain. I know the emotional pain that comes along with losing friends because you break plans too often. I know the hurt that comes when the diagnosis gets older and people think you've gotten better when you never will. I know the longing and desire to be used and to serve even when your body is telling you there is no way that you can do it. I see them!!! I believe them!!! I want to tell them that God is desperately reaching for them to use them!!! And I want them to see that even though I am completely imperfect, that God is using my ability to relate to them to further His kingdom and help give a voice to an area of the congregation that has been vastly ignored or overlooked.

It's a choice. Do you use the gift God has given you or do you fall victim to the world and let selfishness and hypocrisy and judgement suffocate that gift? It's the choice you make to pray for someone despite who's in the room. It's the choice you make to be the friend you're supposed to be. It's the choice you make spend time with someone despite the comments of others and even despite your own desire to turn away. I choose to do it because God's word promises "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." Matthew 5:7 and I believe that God is true to His word.

So yes, by looking at who I am inside and how I relate to others, what others may view as overemotional I would have to say is perhaps what God has ordained as the gift of mercy. I see that I have "the ability to "walk in another's shoes" and to feel the pain and burdens they carry. The desire to make a difference in the lives of hurting people without being judgmental. Though I may have a difficult time evaluating the intentions of others and at times appear naïve.*" Now, I just need to learn how to lasso my gift and to use it as God intended it, because if I am fifteen and choose to not use it, I'm wasting the gift that God chose so carefully just for me.


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