I was afraid to breath for fear that the virtual silence of exhaling would shatter the tranquility of the motionless lake. There wasn’t a ripple, not a single one. It was like the entire scene spread out before my kayak — the lake, the surrounding hills, the pre-dawn sky — was sealed in a vacuum.
Suddenly, a bass jumped exploding the serenity. I exhaled and began to paddle. Stroke. Stroke. It’s about a mile-and-a-half to the spillway from here.
I recently had four days of first-light kayaking on a small lake in Hot Springs Village, Ark. Two mornings birthed blissful weather. It was smooth sailing toward an emerging sun and the artistry of a purple and orange sky. I often post Facebook pictures of the first sliver of the fiery ball popping over the horizon with the caption, “Here comes God’s new mercies.” It’s my reminder of Lamentations 3:22-23. God’s mercies are new every morning.
However, the other two days of kayaking were rough going. One day I got chased off the lake by a mounting storm with its thunder and lighting. The other was also bleak and I spent the entire distance fighting strong winds. I got pushed around like a cork bobbing in the ocean. At times, I paddled sideways.
Straining against the wind and waves, I sensed God challenging me with a question: “Are My mercies only new on postcard picture mornings or are they new every morning regardless of life’s ‘weather conditions?’ ”
Obviously, God’s mercies are new every morning, but I wrestled with that revelation all the way back to the dock. I determined there are at least three types of people who need to apprehend the reality of God’s mercies being new every morning.
(1) The blissful believer. This is the Christian paddling blissfully through life. The waters are smooth; the sunrise is perfect. Life’s winds are light and variable. The presence of Jesus is tangible. The relationship is beautiful. If this is you, praise God and enjoy the journey. But be vigilant. Your storm is coming. Christ guarantees it in places like John 16:33, and others like Peter and Paul both speak of suffering and trial within the Christian life. Rough days lie ahead so prepare your soul. When storms pick up, remember this truth: God’s mercies are new for you every morning.
(2) The beleaguered believer. Many Christians find life’s little boat overwhelmed by storms. They are buffeted by depression, grief, battling a particular sin, health issues, broken relationships, despondency and so much more. This may be you. Here is great news: God’s mercies are new for you every morning. The safety of shore may seem so far away; or maybe you can’t even see it. Keep paddling in Christ. You do not possess the strength to pull against the storm, so you must rely on the One who has promised to get you all the way there. How do you do that? Read your Bible. Pray even if it feels your prayers hit the ceiling. Cling by faith that Jesus promised He would be with you and get you all the way to the presence of the Father. And Jesus keeps all His promises.
The Lamentations say, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;” (3:21-22). Hope in Christ fuels the fires of perseverance. You are called to press on in faith, hoping in Christ regardless of circumstances. His strength and ability will deliver you.
(3) The drifting soul. So many people have no relationship with Jesus, and as positive as they may be about life, they recognize — if they’re honest with themselves — they have no real control over things like death, health, job, the way others treat them, and more. They may drown that reality in destructive lifestyles because they know they are adrift spiritually.
This may be you or someone you know, but here is great news: God’s mercies are new — and available — every morning, but only in Christ. All other world religions or spirituality require you to contribute effort to clean yourself up; to be better, be stronger, be moral, be whatever. Question: How do you know when you’ve done enough? Only Jesus takes you as you are, sinful failings and all. As God, He created you, He loves you and He knows there is nothing you can do to save yourself. So, He did it for you through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Only He can save you. However, you must recognize your need for His merciful forgiveness, give your life to Him and obediently follow His good, gracious and merciful leadership of your life.
Whatever type of water you’re paddling in life, Jesus sees you, knows you, knows your needs now and in the future. Best course to chart is toward Him because His mercies are new every morning.