Do you know anyone who is satisfied with the way things are? There seems to be something inside each of us that wants to reach beyond our self and touch something “more.”

We are each plagued by a kind of holy discontent.

In our own way, we are each crying out for mercy. We are each, deep in our souls, longing for an experience with God.

Surely God will hear our cries and respond to our longings. Even now, as we read, reflect, and pray, may we hold out hope that God will sneak up on us in the form of forgiveness, acceptance, peace, joy, and love.

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When the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better, it was like we had been dreaming. Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter; our tongues were filled with joyful shouts. It was even said, at that time, among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them!” Yes, the Lord has done great things for us, and we are overjoyed.

Psalm 126:1-3

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Most of us want to believe that things can change for the better, but we often fall victim to the opposite belief — that things will always be this way.

Maybe it’s a person in your life. They are who they are, and it’s affecting you in a negative way. It’s pulling you down or wearing you out. You’re trying to be a better person, trying to grow and do what you need to do to be a healthy human being. But you feel powerless. You wonder to yourself if it’s even possible — Do people change? Do circumstances change?

The Israelites would’ve answered, “Of course they do.” At one point they were in exile, and it felt as if all was lost. And then “the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better, it was like we had been dreaming.”

When God is involved, nothing stays the same. God changes people. God changes circumstances. And when we participate with God, we have the power to do the same. We too are change-agents, enacting God’s dream for the world.

Chris Robertson

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God, I don’t want to be cynical; I don’t want to give in to the belief that nothing can change for the better. Instead, I want to give my life to something beautiful, just, and true. In faith I want to participate with you and further your work in the world. Amen.

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Mercy is truly a grace-filled gift, one that is offered to all of us in and through Christ.

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”

from Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner (1973)

Chris Robertson

Rev. Chris Robertson loves everything about Jesus. Formerly a youth pastor, he’s now the manager of a veterinary practice in East Tennessee. In his spare time he enjoys reading, hiking, and wrestling in the floor with his two boys, Shane and Theo.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Jim McConnell

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