Day 23

Objects of Mercy

from the reading plan

Romans 9:19-33, Jeremiah 18:1-6, Ephesians 1:11-14

When I was a young boy, my friends and I would spend the summer months immersed in our collective imaginations. We would create whole civilizations in our backyards with nothing more than a pile of sticks and a roll of duct tape. We’d set out into the neighborhood from sunrise to sunset to complete the day’s quests. 

When I was a little older, I was sent out on another quest, one that would come to define my entire adolescence and early adulthood. I cannot be certain of the exact date of my commission, but at some point, I was tasked with the all-important quest to “find myself.” 

I assume that most of us are familiar with this quest. It springs from the universal human desire to answer the question, “Who am I?” Think about that question for a moment. What is the first answer that comes to mind? 

I imagine for some of us, we think about whatever role that we play in society. Who am I? I am a software engineer, a father, or a student. For others, we think about a defining aspect of our character. Who am I? I am caring, funny, or inquisitive. Either way, our instinct is to look inward to answer that question. Whoever we are or whatever we are must originate within us. 

However, that impulse to look inward for our identity is rife with trouble. For example, when we define ourselves by our role in society or some aspect of our character, what happens when we’re underperforming at work? What happens when we’re fired from our job or fail in our parental responsibilities? What about when we’re shown to be not as consistently caring as we imagined that we were? This is the problem with basing our identity on something within us. It’s simply not stable ground. 

What Paul is offering in Romans 9 is a truly stable foundation for our identity. Who are we? We are “objects of mercy” (Romans 9:23). I am one who has received the boundless mercies of God. Though I have proven faithless time and time again, God has shown me mercy in Christ Jesus. Though I have no innate claim on the promises of God, He has ushered me into his household. Though I was once not His people, He has made me His beloved son (vv.25–26). 

When we stake our identity in the fact that we are objects of God’s mercy, suddenly, our footing is secure. We can enter any circumstance with a newfound boldness because, come what may, we know who we are. Or rather, we know whose we are. 

It is freeing to know that we need not waste another moment of our lives fretting over the quest to “find ourselves.” Truly, we have been found. And thanks be to God that upon finding us, He has dealt with us not according to our sins but according to His great mercy.

Post Comments (1)

One thought on "Objects of Mercy"

  1. Carleton says:

    Today’s and yesterday’s readings in Roman go hand in hand, one does not stand without the other. These teachings are hard, terrifying, comforting, confusing yet filled with the light of Christ. As it says in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”. Thank God for His mercy and forgiveness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *