When Mercy Surprises

I had the Rooster and the Peanut in the bath about a week and a half ago. I don’t quite remember why. Perhaps dinner was particularly messy (it is more often that not) or maybe it was just witching hour, dinner had already been eaten and I needed to burn an hour on a day when my husband had class. The bath is sometimes a nothing left kind of place at my house. 

The Peanut likes to have the water running, to get the tub nice and full and occasionally stick her tongue into the stream. It makes me giggle too, and I try to say yes when there is no good reason for a no. I don’t remember now who did it, which girls pudgy hand reached out and pulled the lever so that the water no longer came out of the tub faucet, but instead came rushing out of the shower head, but out it poured.

Both girls were surprised by the water now raining on their heads. The Peanut, in normal Peanut fashion, was utterly delighted, the water on her head! The Rooster, not so much. She looked shocked until after I managed to get it turned off, and then burst into tears and begged for a towel. 

The Rooster hasn’t been the same about the bath since. She is tentative when we get near the bathtub and when her sister throws her clothes off and jumps in, she stands at the side of the tub shaking her toddler noggin. “No, no, no bath. No bath-tub.”

Friday I was home sick from school, the stomach bug the girls had acquired had finally caught up with me. Christian had somewhere to go so it was just me and the girls and I had still not showered. I left all the doors to the upstairs and the bathroom open, Ponies on the TV and told the girls where I would be and that I would be right back. 

It didn’t take long for the tiny pat-pat-pat of feet to enter my bathroom. “Mommy. can I come in?” I stripped down the Peanut and she started splashing around in the puddles pooling on the tile floor. The Rooster peered in from the door, but would not come in. I was almost done when she finally entered in, fully clothed. It took me another few minutes to coax her shirt off.

Eventually I got out, but the Rooster had only barely gotten wet. So I let the water run while I got dressed and dried my hair. Finally, she ventured in again. Finally she was ready to splash around, finally she was ready, but I had to let the water run. I had to leave the shower on to show her it was safe, to get her used to the idea.

I too have been caught in the shower of God’s mercy when I was not ready for it. I have been shocked when someone switched the flip on me and suddenly, mercy is raining on my head.

I wish I could tell you I am always the Peanut, I am always delighted by the mercies of the Lord. But sometimes, I am the Rooster. I am shocked, I am caught off guard, I am not ready and I am not sure I like it. At the least I need some time to get used to the idea. 

But isn’t there that line of that hymn that I love “streams of mercy never-ceasing?” When I am surprised by mercy, when it leaves me sputtering, my God, He leaves the shower on. When it is scary and intimidating he leaves the mercies on and waits for me to dip my toe in, splash around in, decided it is safe.

Our God is merciful. He knows that it is scary sometimes, to be surprised by mercy. Streams of mercy never ceasing, He leaves the water on.

This post is linking up with Mercy Mondays with Jenn Lebow. Mercy is one of those words that we spout often and rarely take the time to understand what it means. So one Monday a month we try. Join us?

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6 thoughts on “When Mercy Surprises

  1. I love that particular hymn, but have never really thought about that line. And you’re right – he really does rain it down on us. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised because he’s told us that’s how he works, but it’s such stark contrast to the world we live in. Thanks for giving this song new meaning for me!

  2. Ah yes – Come thou fount of every blessing. This month’s song of the month in Kindergarten SS is Deep and Wide – they love the fountain part. Gushing, running, sprinking, streaming water is such a potent image of God’s merciful love. I wish I could bring in one of those giant squirt guns.

  3. That’s it. I’m usually caught off guard by God’s mercy. I’m like Rooster, tentative and scared. Mercy so often doesn’t look or feel like I think it SHOULD. Thanks for that picture of being surprised, shocked really, by mercy.

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