A lesson in mercy

How statistics showed me God’s mercy

I do not know how God works on you, but for me, He sure likes to use ordinary events to reveal himself.

Since my previous post, My Prayer for 2017, God has been teaching me to rely more on Him and trust Him and His Word. From everyday affairs to relationships, I have realized I must increasingly become aware of God and His plan and to lean, and wait, on Him. It has not been easy and I am probably more stubborn than I should be, but I am working on it. So when I learn a lesson, I do my best to remember it. Well, something just happened. As in, it happened, I prayed, and I started writing this post. I want to document this one.

I am currently taking Statistics in college. I am doing well, made an A on the first exam and have a perfect score in homework. I try to learn, do all my work, make good notes, and study well. However, I am human and make mistakes.

The class is finishing up chapter 4 homework. I had a few sections to do, but I knew they were due Tuesday (the 21st), so I did all but the last section (section 4.5) and took the weekend off (because I needed a college-free weekend). Mondays are always busy days for me, and the 20th was no exception. I did not get to working on my remaining statistics work until 5:40 PM today. When I opened it, I was greeted to a surprise: the homework was due at 11:59 PM that evening, not on the 21st at 11:59 PM as I read before the weekend. I began to work on it, but before I could make headway, I had to go to a Bible study. I would work on it when I got home.

10:30 PM. I am just now able to sit down and work on it. So I begin… and it is not what I expected. The problems are all solved differently than the previous sections despite near-identical wording. So I begin to slowly work on them. It is hard. As the deadline draws near, I become more and more nervous and pressured. I do my work, I thought. I always do my work. I can do this, but I cannot. There is no time for me to accomplish this task in the remaining time. I text my friend, who tries to comfort me and remind me of God’s peace and help, but I am so wrapped in my emotions that I do not receive the message.

11:55 PM. It is too late. I am nowhere near done. I resign myself to getting a zero because I read the due date incorrectly. I save my work (because I can work it after due date but not get a grade) and go to the schedule.

As soon as I read the schedule, I break down and cry. I text my friend. Suddenly, with no explanation, the schedule is different. When I signed in over an hour earlier, it said section 4.5 was due Monday, the 20th. It now said it was due Tuesday the 21st, as I originally thought. I do not know if it was a system issue that lasted hours or what, but suddenly, it was changed.

This whole time I have been listening to the Bethel Music album Have It All because it is a good album. There is another song on it I really like titled Mercy.

Mercy by Bethel Music

The chorus of this song says “You delight in showing mercy/ Mercy triumphs over judgment / I know that You delight in showing mercy / for mercy triumphs over judgment.” So when I saw the schedule was different, I cried because that song just become true. See, I failed to pray before I began my work and ask for peace and help with this work. Instead of trusting God when I became nervous and worrying, I let it control me and slow me down. In a moment, God’s mercy was shown to me, even though I deserved “judgement” (as the song above puts it) for my failure to more closely adhere to the schedule. Am I suggesting that God himself changed the due date? No, although He could have. I do not know how it changed. All I know it is it was one date and suddenly it was another, removing a large load of stress off me and allowing me to go to sleep in peace.

This may seem so trivial to you. I feel a bit silly writing this post. Yet this is how God deals with me. He uses small, insignificant events like the due date of statistics homework so I may learn a greater lesson: the greatness of His mercy towards me. If He cares about me so much that He shows His goodness though a due date, how much more will He take care of me in greater things?

For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)
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