Thursday, 7 June 2012

Common Mercies

Sunlight seeps around the edges of my bedroom curtains as I swing my legs out of bed and walk down the hall. Through the open kitchen window I hear birdsong, wind rustling the leaves and the excited chatter of our resident squirrel. I grind some dark roast coffee beans, enjoying the rich fragrance while anticipating the delicious first cup I’ll sip with my toasted bagel. I read e-mails from my children that keep me involved in their lives. A CD of Tchiakovsky’s First Piano Concerto plays while I clean the comfortable home I share with my husband. This afternoon I will drive to town to visit with a friend and do a little shopping.
    I am a recipient of what preacher and author Charles Spurgeon calls “common mercies”, those gifts God has supplied for me and every person on earth in a general sense, like sunshine, air, food, shelter and relationships. The essentials of daily life may vary for others, however everything I take for granted in my world is a result of the mercy of God. I want to make it a habit to do as Spurgeon exhorts; “daily praise God for common mercies -- common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless that when deprived of them we are ready to perish.”
    Whether I acknowledge God’s existence or not, I am given undeserved mercy through the natural world I depend upon to survive. Even if I turn away from Him, God “has shown kindness by giving me rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides me with plenty of food and fills my heart with joy.” (Acts 14:17 personalized)
    Common mercies cause me to think of God. His amazing creation and how I fit into it speak to me of an Intelligent Designer, “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities -- His eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20)   
    If common mercies give rise to gratitude for their vital existence, then I need someone to thank. I cannot thank a supposition of life coming from a “Big Bang” for the world as I know it. I cannot be thankful for my existence to a theory based on development of species from earlier forms. I need to thank God, who created me to express gratitude.
    Because I share these mercies with everyone else then, yes, they are common, but if I study their intricate design, singular beauty and perfect provision, then I would have to call them uncommon. Everywhere I look, every sound I hear, every scent, every touch, is God’s proclamation of how lavishly He loves me. And I am so thankful.

The Lord is faithful to all His promises
and loving toward all He has made.
The eyes of all look to You,
and You give them their food at the proper time.
You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways
and loving toward all He has made.
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise His holy name
for ever and ever.     
           Psalm 145:13, 15-17, 21


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