When the news hit me of the shooting at AME Church in Charleston I pained for the families, all of them.  Both the victims' families and that of the shooter's.  Then today the news of a local police officer shot and killed by a young, 21 year old man who had texted about a "suicide by cop" idea.  The young man was killed by a second officer.  It hurts to think to the massive amount of pain involved in both instances and all I can do is pray that our world changes.  That those seeking these types of injustices find peace.  That all of us see ourselves for exactly who we are and that is broken.  Broken and in need of saving.  Myself included, daily saving.  It reminds me that no matter what is headlining the news, it's always the same; It reveals broken-ness, loneliness, despair, pride and pain.  It reveals contempt, entitlement, hate.  The reality is that our personal view of circumstance is very different than God's and if we understood what He sees in our situation, in ourselves, what He has gifted us, what he affords us, maybe we would see things, see each other differently, because there absolutely is purpose to each precious life....and there is one absolute place to find it.

Colossians 1:13-20 The Message - (emphasis mine)

"We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

~ My Dad was a recycler. Although I am confident that is not the term he'd have chosen, he was. If something broke or stopped working, he'd examine the item. He would look it over and determine if it was repairable. If not, he'd take it apart and keep the pieces that he could use for something else later; screws, springs, nails, you name it. Dad would take the salvageable items from his workbench, place them in little labeled glass jars (also recycled) and put them on large metal shelves we had in our many garages. I knew my father did this, but over the years, it became so customary that I took for granted the whys or how was as religious as teeth brushing, it just was. Not long after my Dad died, my sisters and I had to go through my parents' things in preparation for a move for my Mom. When we got to the garage, we were astounded, more little glass jars than we ever would have guessed, lovingly tucked away and placed with anticipation of future use. We smiled and laughed .... a lot. We had moved a ton through the years and each time, our Dad insisted we get rid of the "unnecessaries" and he wasn't easily swayed to meet our differing opinion of what was important. Moves are expensive and the more we were willing to part with, the less it would cost and yet, here we were, with these little glass jars toted around for a lifetime. My Dad saw them as more than old screws and nails, he saw life in them, a purpose. His frugality turned into belief that everything could be renewed and I think it must have pained him, in some capacity, to consider leaving these behind.

That process reminds me of God' s mercies, they are limitless. He examines each of us and takes what He can use and removes what He can't. He dusts off our hides when we've fallen or have been hurt, polishes us off and finds place for us in His kingdom. He gives us each a special purpose that we are specifically designed for and runs through His library of mercies to tuck into us all the pieces, parts and tools we need to achieve that purpose. He will never toss us aside and will go to great lengths to save us. We are precious to Him, even though we are rusty, marred and weakened....He sees our value and provides many mercies in our daily renewal. He won't leave us in our old and broken state, He will revive us and give us new life.....even when we deserve to remain in our heap of errs, lack of workings, troubles and damaged choices, He whispers to us "No, love. You are more than this. You are more precious than any precious metal. You are my child and there is a place for you, a purpose in you. I will never leave you and I will never forsake you."

Just as my Dad had more jars than I had ever imagined, God has more mercies than we have sin. It will always outweigh our wrongdoing, our injury. The scale should always be tipped, but God, in His great love of us just smiles, grabs the mercy we need and places it tenderly to balance it out. ~ B

My prayers go out to the families of AME Charleston and Officer Kim.  To donate to Officer Kim's wife and three sons you can reach the GoFundMe account here.

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