Regardless of my best efforts to improve, I have never been gifted with athletic abilities, and as a result, high school gym class was generally a disaster, a forty-five minute exercise in futility. Whether it was swimming, gymnastics, track, or square dancing, my talents and skills were sadly lacking. But then we were offered an archery class. Archery? How hard could that be? Not much physical endurance or coordination necessary, right? You just aim and fire; any klutz can do this. That is, with the exception of this klutz. Hit that miniscule red dot five miles away (exaggeration alert, maybe not quite five miles) and not kill anyone in the process? I would be lucky to hit the target at all. My I-stink-at-gym-class record was still intact and evident for all to see.
In the Book of Ezra, we read of Judah’s return to her land, that precious land of promise, after enduring years of captivity in Babylon. Their egregious sins had led to a broken empire, a destroyed temple, and a deported people. They had forsaken the worship of Jehovah and the obedience to His law. They had missed the mark, badly! But thankfully, no sin, either individually, or collectively as a nation, is beyond the unwavering, faithful love of our forgiving God. His mercy extended to us in the midst of our failures is evidenced by His persistent patience and love lavished on an unworthy creation. As Ezra would lead the people of God in the laying of the foundation of a new temple, Judah could once again sing Jehovah’s praises and rejoice in their restored fellowship with Him. Together they would rejoice, “…because he is good, for his mercy endureth forever.”
We have all missed the mark in terms of salvation, for “all have sinned, and come short (missed the mark) of the glory of God.” My Savior is the only perfect, sinless One Who could provide righteousness for me. But from that moment of salvation, when I fell into His loving embrace, my desire has been to please my Father, to hit the mark of devotion, faithfulness, and obedience every day, but so often I aim poorly and miss that mark. I’m filled with praise one day, complaining the next; deep in His Word today, cold to His leading tomorrow. I’m the same mess who tried so hard to hit that archery target in gym class many years ago…and missed time and time again. But although my growth in faith can be slow and sporadic, and my aim falls miserably short, His patience with me, His willingness to shower me with mercy undeserved in spite of myself, is consistent, and humbling. What an awesome Father I have!
Psalm 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Even with my best effort, I so often miss the mark. Thankfully, I have a patient Teacher Who loves me, forgives me, and extends mercy and compassion to His faltering, weak child.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-378-62b94686d3ab8' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=378&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-378-62b94686d3ab8' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-378-62b94686d3ab8' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>