No one likes having a sick kid. Even with all the calm cuddling and extra naps it isn’t worth it. This week I’ve learned a few things about myself and God while Ben has been sick.
The first night was pathetic, but Ben was exhausted from his day at school (where he wasn’t sick) and although he got up two or three times I just coaxed him back to sleep and figured he’d be better in the morning. I tend to just assume it’ll be ok.
By the third day we were all tired. He’s getting up every 2-3 hours at night, sometimes more often and his fever hit 102.1. He’s uncomfortable, achey, stuffy and hot – no – cold – no – hot… we all know the restless feelings. He is willing to crawl up onto my lap, or crawl into my bed because he wants to believe that is where he’ll find comfort. But I can’t bring him the relief that he wants. I’m helpless against his pain. My heart longs to make him better, to ease his aching, to tell him it will be better when he wakes up. But I can’t. It was at this point that I realized something about mercy. I’ve tended to picture mercy as an attitude of compassion.But mercy, I think, must be backed by some authority. The Bible uses words verbs with mercy, and the list is long:
beg for mercy
plead for mercy
get no mercy
God talks about mercy as a thing we do. In Hosea 6:6 when Isreal’s love for God fades like the morning dew he says “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Â In Zechariah 7:9-10 God is telling them to skip their selfish fasts and feasts and says “This is what the LORD Almighty said: â€˜Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.Â Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.'” The command to “show mercy” is a call to do something, to move. In Matthew 17:14-16 a man approaches Jesus seeking mercy for his son, but he isn’t looking for an attitude of pity: “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.Â â€œLord, have mercy on my son,â€ he said. â€œHe has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.Â I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.â€Â He clearly has an expectation that “have mercy” means “do something.” Whether it is a pleading for God’s mercy or a call for us to show mercy, we can only DO mercy in situations where we have something to DO. And sadly, much to my dismay, over Ben’s fever I have no control.
By the fifth day I’m grateful for a God who is in control. I’m grateful for a Jesus who actually has power to heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, comfort the hurting. And I’m glad that He gives us something to DO in most situations. We are, in fact, called over and over to do mercy, show mercy, have mercy. And when it’s outside of our ability, then I shall wait and pray for His.