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Look for Ways to Show Mercy

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2018 4 Dec

A photo of a shaggy, bearded man holding a sign that says, Seeking Human Kindness.

My youngest was always asking whether she could climb into my bed or, failing that, whether I might consider sleeping in her room. But since I actually liked to sleep at night, I usually declined the invitation. Her fear of the dark reminds me of the tale of a little boy whose father had just tucked him in and turned out the lights:

“Daddy, I’m scared!” the boy cried.

“But honey,” came the reassuring reply, “there’s nothing to be afraid of. God loves you, and he’ll watch over you.”

“Yes, I know God loves me,” the boy shot back. “But right now I need somebody with skin on `em.”

When it comes to understanding God’s mercy, it’s important to remember that he wants people with “skin on ‘em”—people like you and me—to display his mercy to others.

In 2012, Meghan Vogel captured Ohio’s 1,600 meter title in the Ohio Division III track and field state meet. Later that day she did something even more remarkable. During the 3,200 meter final, she spotted fellow runner Arden McMath collapsed on the track, twenty feet from the finish line. Instead of running past McMath, Vogel stooped down and lifted her onto her feet. Arm in arm the girls ran the rest of the race together. Then, just before they crossed the finish line, Vogel stepped back, still holding the other girl up, so that McMath finished ahead of her.

The fans went wild. Later, when asked for her reaction to the crowd’s roar of approval, she seemed surprised. She’d been so focused on McMath that she hadn’t noticed all the cheering. When people praised her for letting the other girl finish first, she merely replied, “She was ahead of me the whole race; she deserved to finish before me.”

Captured on video, Vogel’s act of kindness went viral. Her selfless act hit a responsive chord with millions of people around the world who admired what she had done.

It strikes me that the story of these two runners presents a great picture of what Christ has done for us, stooping down to lift us up and then staying with us until we are safely across the finish line.

Though our good deeds will probably never be caught on camera, let’s remember that the eyes that count most are trained on us right now. For as Scripture says, “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Let’s look for ways to show mercy today.