Artist’s Lane: Falling into the hands of God

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    By Betty Slade
    PREVIEW Columnist

    The Old Testament tells of King David, his poor judgment and a misstep that had to be brought to justice. 

    God told David to choose his punishment, “I offer you three things: Seven years of famine upon your land — flee three months before your enemies while they pursue you — or three days of plague in your land.”

    David’s answer to God, “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”— 2 Samuel 24:13,14 (NKJV).

    People are told to fear God and trust man. However, don’t we see the ruthlessness of man every time we turn on the television? Doesn’t God’s mercy overshadow every act that we have come to know from man?

    I am reminded of a story about two men named Adam and Bob. They were childhood friends who laughed and played, and grew up together. Both were accepted into Ivy League universities and passed their bar exams.

    The day would come when each would look to join firms that would serve their career interest. 

    Adam excelled by working hard. He was tenacious and shrewd in practice, and quickly became known as the brightest star at his firm. His family seemed to have it all together as well. They attended church and gave when they believed it most beneficial. Even church leaders from the pulpit esteemed the young man.

    Bob also worked hard. He toed a legal line and was known for being fair. When possible, he took on pro bono work to help those who couldn’t help themselves. He enjoyed wining and dining his clients. But, the long nights at the office and lunch hour meet-and-greets soon became his demise. Bob developed a drinking problem and his marriage began to suffer. 

    Soon thereafter, Bob fell on tough times. His career spun out of control, which led to him losing his job. He lost his home and his family abandoned him. The only view he had of his once corner office would be from the street. His bed, a piece of cardboard in an alley.

    Unbeknownst to Bob, Adam was having dinner with a friend at a neighborhood restaurant. At the conclusion of their meal, the friends walked down the street, passing by the alley that Bob called home. 

    As the men walked by, Adam caught a glimpse of a familiar face. With a disdained cockiness, he said to his friend, “Isn’t that Bob? Look at him. He’s digging through the dumpster.”

    Before Bob was out of view, Adam and his friend watched as he pulled a half-eaten steak out of the garbage, leaned down and then fed a stray dog.

    “I’ve known Bob all my life. He had the same opportunities that I had. Look at what he has become.” 

    The friend said to Adam, “Cut Bob some slack. Show him some mercy. I’ve heard he is working at a soup kitchen where he is an advocate for those needing legal help.”

    “Mercy?” Adam whirled back, “He doesn’t deserve it.” 

    Adam’s outrage was deafening, but he was blinded by one gigantic flaw — no mercy. Worse yet, he used his own life as the standard by which he passed judgment. 

    The view of Bob feeding a dog from his hand was beneath Adam, and overshadowed any relevance or importance that his work had become. 

    King David knew it was better to stand before God as judge who would show mercy than fall under the condemnation of a man who judges without mercy.

    The Bible tells us in Romans 8:33,34, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect, it is God who justifies, … and Christ who died and rose, stands at the right hand of God and makes intercession for us.”

    Final brushstroke: Without regard for where life has taken us, we will all stand in judgment one day. Fortunately, God is not just a God of justice, but also of mercy. Thankfully, our counsel in the courtroom of heaven is also the one who intercedes for us on earth. His name is Jesus. 

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