Mercies in disguise

Being a fogey I naturally don’t keep up with the latest in contemporary Christian music. So an awful lot passes me by, interspersed with haphazard moments of discovery.

A couple of weeks back I happened to be driving and chanced upon a Christian radio station. A song I’d never heard was playing, and I was transfixed. The song was released in 2011, and deservedly led to awards and heightened recognition for the artist, Laura Story. (Yep, you guessed it .. I hadn’t heard of her either. That will let younger Christians know what sized rock I’ve been hiding under.)

The song is simply titled “Blessings”….


It’s seriously one of the most moving and theologically satisfying songs I’ve ever heard on the theme of suffering in the journey of discipleship. As so often with musical or other reflections on suffering throughout Christian history, the rich biblical insights the song expresses are borne of real trials in the life of the artist. The following line from the refrain says so much …

What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?

This song ministers mightily to my spirit, as it clearly has done to many many others over the past 5 years. Highly recommended to any who’ve been hiding under the same rock as I …

Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is always more than you’ve yet realised he is. And following him is always more than you realised it was.

Whoever you are, however much or little you know about Christianity or the church, or remember from Sunday School; however active you are in the life of the church, however hard you’ve worked in the church, however well you sing or read or pray, however well-read you are, however quiet or outgoing you are, however talented you are .. There’s so much you still don’t know about the perfections of Jesus’ character, his kingdom purposes, his supremacy, how much he has achieved in his death and resurrection – for you and for the world, and therefore about what an abundance of mercy he stands ready to pour out into your open and empty hands and heart.

To one degree or another, you are blind and you need to see more clearly who this Jesus is, and you need him to be oh so much more your chosen king, and your merciful shepherd.

So when you come to him, and whenever you read or hear again his saving words,won’t you cry out to him for mercy to wipe away your sin? (That’s what Bartimaeus did: “Son of David, have mercy on me.”) And won’t you beg him to open your eyes that you may see in ways you haven’t before, just how glorious he is, just how perfect he is, just how thoroughly he can wash away your sin, and just how deeply, deeply satisfying he is and wants to be for you.

Luke 5:1-11

Luke has linked: the great catch of fish — Jesus declaration that they will catch people — the leaving everything to follow.

He says “When following me the impossible is possible. So if I tell you you will catch people, don’t doubt that either.” They respond by leaving everything – even the fishing where there has just been great success, to follow a new life with one who can demonstrably deliver what he promises.

This speaks to my continuing self-doubt.

Matt 1:21-23

Lord, you are the one who does what he says he will do, who keeps his promises! You spoke your word of deliverance through the prophets centuries earlier. Then generations came and went, were born and died, and saw nothing of what you had promised. Generations would have had every cause to doubt you – your word, your goodness. But then you did just what you had said, in your time. Then you did all that was needed to bring sinners home to the Father’s welcoming embrace.

Isa 11:1-9

This world as we know it is a negative image of the world as the Creator designed it. When the Lord comes, all that sin and Satan have done to the planet and to human affairs will be put back to right. Judgement will be out of divine knowledge, not limited to the scope of human perception. Once again the Spirit which lived at first in Adam will live in a man. Order and harmony will return to every part of the creation.