Mercy from first to last

I’m reading ‘Knowing God’, by J. I. Packer, at the moment and discovered this gem on the tube yesterday morning:

God is love’ is the complete truth about God so far as the Christian is concerned. To say ‘God is light’ is to imply that God’s holiness finds expression in everything that He says and does. Similarly, the statement ‘God is love’ means that His love finds expression in everything that He says and does. The knowledge that this is so for him personally is the Christian’s supreme comfort. As a believer, he finds in the cross of Christ assurance that he, as an individual, is beloved of God; ‘the Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20). Knowing this, he is able to apply to himself the promise that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). Not just some things, note, but all things! Every single thing that happens to him expresses God’s love to him, and comes to him for the furthering of God’s purpose for him. Thus, so far as he is concerned, God is love to him – holy, omnipotent love – at every moment and in every event of every day’s life. Even when he cannot see the why and the wherefore of God’s dealings, he knows that there is love in and behind them, and so he can rejoice always, even when, humanly speaking, things are going wrong. He knows that the true story of his life, when known, will prove to be, as the hymn says, ‘mercy from first to last’ – and he is content.

My view of my own life is, so often, very different from that. How much joy and how much peace is contained in such a little phrase: this whole life – with all its struggles and joys and unexpected changes – is ‘mercy from first to last’! How staggeringly great a God we have…

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