Nancy Ruegg has been blogging faithfully for three years at From the Inside Out | Impressions Becoming Expressions. She uses a variety of writing styles to cover various themes from scripture. To read today’s at source — with some beautiful pictures — click the title below and then click the ‘Home’ tag to view other articles. Today’s writing takes the form of an extended prayer.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger
And rich in faithful love.
–Psalm 103:8, HCSB
As I skim through the memories of six-plus(!) decades, I see much evidence of these attributes in my life:
I praise you that you’ve always looked upon me with compassion, not condemnation. Not one moment of struggle in my life has slipped by your attention unnoticed. And with that attention has come your sympathy. You’ve completely understood every situation I’ve faced, and shared in the physical pain, emotional hurts, and spiritual battles as they’ve come.
How comforting to know that you see my circumstances and sympathize. But even more precious? Your love compels you to express that compassion with encouragement, strength, and support. Each day you bestow new mercies. You never give up on me.
Oh, how thankful I am that you are a God full of loving kindness. What relief to know your gift of salvation is not based on my effort but on your grace.
Your blessings flow continuously, not based on my faith, but on your benevolent nature.
Even more wondrous, you dwell within me, bestowing peace, joy, wisdom, and more—not because I am righteous and deserving, but because you are righteous and dedicated to my highest welfare.
Patience (Slow to anger)
One evidence of your grace is patience. As a parent and teacher, I’ve learned a little about the attribute of patience—mostly how difficult it is! Little ones can ask countless silly questions, frequently test the limits of acceptable conduct, and behave quite selfishly.
How shameful to admit I still demonstrate such traits. I, too, ask frivolous questions. When troubles assault, I want to know Why, God? I test the limits of your grace with my shallowness, failings, and stubborn streak. And as for selfish behavior, that tendency hasn’t died yet either.
Some Bible translators have used the word longsuffering in place of patience. You have suffered long as you’ve trained me! Step by laborious step you gently guide me toward maturity. And one day my character will be complete, lacking in nothing because of your great forbearance with me.
How can I begin to thank you, God, for the treasure of your undying love? You brought me to faith in Jesus as a child, gave me a place in your forever family, and bequeathed to me an eternal inheritance in heaven. As I wait for that reality, I revel in your faithful love that:
- Expresses itself continually, day after day
- Attends to what will be in my best interest
- Willingly and patiently endures the pain of rejection and disappointment, because of my rebellion
- Disciplines me as any loving parent trains his/her dear children
- “Perseveres until it perfects” (Philip Yancey)
I praise you, Holy Father, that day after day you manifest these attributes in my life. I am encouraged by your compassion, blessed by all facets of your grace, guided by your patient Spirit, and strengthened by the richness of your faithful love. I can never praise you enough for your magnificence!