But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
Sandra McCracken and a number of other artists have been making an art form of breathing new tunes into some old hymn texts. While I do not believe that all old hymn texts need to be given new tunes, sometimes these new melodic wineskins bring powerful wisdom and poetry to another generation of Christians. “Thy Mercy My God” is an example of a retuned hymn that has pointed me in a fresh (and almost violent) way back into the mercy of God. If you were in the five o’clock last week, you sang the particular poignant third verse a few times in a row.
“Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart”
I get this image in my head of a duel. It might be a wrestling match, a boxing match, a high-noon gunfight, or even a back-alley street fight – my hard heart versus the mercy of God. When I choose to engage my heart in the battle against mercy, my heart will always be forced to tap out. It has no option. It is when my heart plays the coward and chooses to run from his mercy that I cannot be dominated by it.
“Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart”
I have and am experiencing this truth. The more my heart engages with and loses against God’s mercy, it knows that he loves me and that nothing he desires for me is meant to harm me. My heart softens and it doesn’t understand why it prefers to be beaten. I begin to know deeply that he is good, and so my heart’s desire to submit grows.
This lent I want to cease cowering and running from God’s mercy. I want my hard heart to engage no-holds-barred knowing that his mercy will defeat me and that when it does, my heart will soften and experience the beauty of his mind and his will.
“Dissolved by Thy goodness I fall to the ground
And weep to the praise of the mercy I’ve found.”