Scripture Reflections @ CEC by Terry Smith
“In fact, the Devil is delighted when we spend our time and energy defending the Bible, as long as we do not get around to actually reading the Bible.”
R. C. Sproul, Jr.
Scripture & Devotion: Psalm 123:2 (NLT)
"We keep looking to the LORD our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal."
In the midst of this quarantine, we continue our very restricted lifestyle. I think this is day 67, though it may be 70 for us since we started quarantine just before the government first imposed "social distancing." Martial law curfew sure makes for quiet nights (8 pm-4 am). And Sundays, stay-at-home days, are truly relaxing! A few dog barks and roosters crowing, but otherwise silence. I almost don't want to look forward to the steps back to normal but know lots of people are stressed and very anxious to get their freedom back. But here we haven't heard people declaring their rights to freedom like we see on the internet news from your parts of the country. At breakfast the other morning a comment caught me by surprise: the tinge of envy or bitterness in the voice made me sad to hear: "That little girl is sure spoiled! Everybody treats her special. She gets whatever she wants." The little girl in question was "Giggles." She and her mom (who works here) had just arrived from a room they rent, a 35-40 minute walk away. And we know that their breakfast with some of the other folks in the house won't be ready till about 10:00 a.m. So "everybody," that's me, "sneak" her a bread roll or two, with cheese, avocado or boiled egg, to go with a papaya smoothie. Sneaking really isn't the right word since we usually ask her if she has a preference. But it's only the five of us older adults that eat breakfast at 7:00. So, yes, we spoil Giggles...she is an 11 year old growing girl and probably hasn't had much to eat since lunch about 2:30-3:00 p.m. the day before. While spoiling Giggles goes on many mornings, Rita is attentive near the kitchen stove for anything she needs to get for her godmother. She lingers to be asked to get this or that, take this plate or that, and fulfill any expectations Irma might have. After breakfast, Karla settles in front of this computer to do her communications, and I take my Kindle up to the rooftop to read some Psalms and lift my eyes to the One who made the heavens...home of the sun that's just beginning to warm me... and earth and everything in them.
Psalm 123:2 in the NLT reads: "We keep looking to the LORD our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal." I did a double take...that's what I'd witnessed in the kitchen! Rita keeps her eyes on her godmother. Giggles sneaks glances at us as she comes into the kitchen to put her backpack away. But they aren't really waiting for orders of what to do, rather they are watching for signs of mercy which affirm relationships. Masters and mistresses are often stereotyped as stern, demanding and harsh; but God is ready to dish out mercy. And it was that mercy offered to Giggles which triggered the mean-spirited comment at the breakfast table. That comment revealed a heart that hasn't known mercy all life long. We hear envy and bitterness about injustice expressed at every breakfast and dinner, and are reminded that people are looking for mercy. We want to emulate our Master and have mercy ready to offer, even in response to almost imperceptible flicks of the eyes or inflections of voices. Is this a reason why we are in quarantine here...not to avoid a virus, but to impart mercy? Should we rejoice if, in just a few days from now, the quarantine gets extended another two weeks?
I'll be merciful to you and stop writing; this is probably enough except to enclose a 10Gb microdot of mercy for each of you in the space between each word of this note. Terry Smith
Lord, Jesus, Holy Spirit,
Tune our hearts to You so much that we would respond to Your slightest direction - continue to help us understand more deeply the mercy You have shown us, and in turn, teach us to show that same mercy to everyone we encounter.