Vast floods of mercy

           As we walk the journey to the cross during Lent, we come face to face again and again with God’s love and mercy.  What is this love that chooses to keep walking toward Jerusalem when Jesus knows the cross that awaits at the end of that walk?

           But that kind of love sometimes feels like too much to bear, and so we also, often, encounter our own resistance to that love. As we face that love, we become painfully aware of our own lack of love, and so we pull away. Our shame tells us we’re unloveable. Our pride wants to earn love, not receive it freely. Our fear flees the risk of trusting that the love won’t leave, and clings instead to bank accounts, relationships, anything we think we might be able to control a little more than we can control God.

           This week two gifts have helped me find my way a bit further through my own resistance, taking steps a little deeper into God’s love. The first is the question that someone in my soul care group asked: “What’s the central question in your life right now?” As I’ve pondered the question, it has drawn me deeper and deeper, helping me see the places I resist God’s love and leading me toward his mercy. For example, I began with the surface layer question, “Where will my next home be?” But as I sat with that, I realized my question was deeper: “Can I trust that God is unfailingly kind and that he will provide?” Once I realized that the answer to that question was “yes,” I discovered that my real question was different, “Can I trust that I will hear well and won’t somehow mess the whole thing up?” That in turn led me deeper still. I’ll be tucking that soul care group question away for frequent use as it helps me listen for what is most important to me right now, and what might be the hurdles that are getting in the way. Then I can sit with those painful places in God’s presence and let him do his work there to set me a little freer to trust.

           I’ve also lingered with some lines from Denise Levertov’s marvellous poem, “To Live in the Mercy of God,” letting her words and images remind me of the strength and persistence of God’s love and mercy in the face of my resistance. This waterfall of mercy is not easily diverted by my struggle to receive, thank God!

“. . . To live in the mercy of God.

To feel vibrate the enraptured

waterfall flinging itself

unabating down and down

                              to clenched fists of rock.

Swiftness of plunge,

hour after year after century,

                                                   O or Ah

uninterrupted, voice


                              To breathe

spray. The smoke of it.


of steelwhite foam, glissades

of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—

rage or joy?

                              Thus, not mild, not temperate,

God’s love for the world. Vast

flood of mercy

                      flung on resistance.”

One thought on “Vast floods of mercy

  1. Carolyn, I’m so grateful you invited me to experience your heart in your writings:)
    the Peace of Christ dear one,

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