by Margaret D. Mitchell
"To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace." -Luke 1:77-79
This autumn, I have found myself on an extended retreat…in the middle of meadows and in a cabin at the woods edge, a close walk to a tiny, glass chapel on the bluff of a Tennessee river. And in the early morning, the sun rises up over the adjacent mountain ridge onto the foggy river below and right into what I have lovingly dubbed The Son Room.
I am inspired here.
Inspired to thank God for His amazing creations as His light blazes through His orange and yellow and red foliage. Inspired to seek Him for whatever He has on His mind and heart this day. And I breathe more deeply, and I delight in wonder of His workmanship in every direction.
And I am captivated.
And I know He has brought me here. And I know I am His beloved. And I wonder what more He will offer me right here, right now.
And so it begins…His message to me from His Word: Luke 1:77-79.
And I am amazed He draws me so near…to His truth, His light.
And I get it…
When God’s glorious sun rises, it shines with mercy anew. And my awareness of this poignant mercy feels like a retreat from the ravages of a journey long-suffered. It captures my heart like nothing else. And it reminds me of His compassion for all of God’s beloved and for imperfect me.
And I am visited in The Son Room by this heavenly sunrise, an infusion of His light where no room exists for darkness or any of its consequences.
A retreat from which we do not have to return, mercy offers us renewal and redemption daily, a touch point of comfort from Our Creator, the meeting of our every need.
The Greek word for mercy in Luke 1:78 is, “eleos,” which is defined in Strong’s as “pity, compassion."
In Vine’s Dictionary, “Mercy is the act of God, peace is the resulting experience in the heart of man…mercy is His attitude toward those who are in distress.”
Mercy is part of God’s love-covenant with His beloved. And He will offer it to us and draw us to retreat to it so He can move us forward by His grace.
When the light of Jesus shines upon the shadow of death, the battle is over. His glorious light brings victory as it dispels darkness in an instant. Then we can get unstuck by shaking off all that encumbered us and see like Jesus to know where to go with Jesus.
Psalm 119:105 assures us, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”
In Strong’s, “guide” means "kateuthunó" in Greek, which means: "I make straight, direct."
HELPS Word Studiesdefines it further as “properly, go straight down by the most direct, efficient route; to go in a direct (straight) course–avoiding all unnecessary delays, without any undue loss of time or achievement.”
Peace is a place of clarity, wholeness and strength.
Strong’sdefines peace in the Greek, "eiréné," as meaning: "peace of mind" or "the health (welfare) of an individual."
Peace is the fruit (gain, result) of The Holy Spirit as we live holy lives, yielded to the righteous disciplines of sovereign God.
When we are distressed, God shines His light on the darkness to make a way for us to rest in His assurance of peace, knowing that our adversary is under our feet.
In Lamentations 3:19-24, the author illustrates to us: "The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of The Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!’”
God will always see us through when we put our hope and trust in Him. If you come near to Him, He will come near to you.
"But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do” (Psalm 73:28 NLT).
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, Enduring Grace. All rights reserved.