We are pleased to announce Real Mercy (volume 3) has a scheduled release date of August 2015. Wesleyan Publishing House has contracted Thad for 2 more books. In these current blogs, we’d like to share sneak peaks from volume 4. We hope you enjoy it.
Please note: Part One will be a devotion from scripture. Part Two will be a journal entry based on that scripture.
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My old friend had something I didn’t have growing up. He had the promises of God from Scripture written on his heart. You see, he was raised in a Christian home. His parents nurtured him, and his siblings, in the knowledge and love of the Lord.
“I can still hear my Mom singing the great hymns of the Church,” he said to me one day. “And every night, we’d read the Bible and pray together as a family. Whenever I suffered from bouts of fear, there was never a shortage of family, friends, and people at church I could run to for prayer and comfort.”
I didn’t have that.
When I got afraid, all I could do is remember a song my Mom taught me.
Whenever I feel afraid I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect
When shivering in my shoes I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune and no one ever knows
The song goes on to say, “Make believe you’re brave and the trick will take you far. You may be as brave as you make believe you are.” 1 Mom never sang that part. But I found it was true. Whistling didn’t work. It was all make believe.
If only Mom and Dad had had given me the gift my old friend had.
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As a child, I thought of fear as a monster.
At night, alone in bed, I’d have a light on. That way, I could always look around and make sure he wasn’t there. I didn’t like him. I didn’t like the way he made me feel when he attacked. Like the time my family went out shopping. I was maybe 4 or 5. At one point, I reached up for my Dad’s hand and it wasn’t my Dad. This stranger looked down at me and scared me. I looked everywhere for my family and couldn’t find them. I screamed as loud as I could.
Fear made me feel unsafe. Unprotected. Alone and far from home.
My first day at school was a disaster. I’d seen my older brother and sister do it. But it was hard for me. I had the worst case of homesickness imaginable.
Not long after, my Dad got a new job. We moved from Detroit to Lakeland, Florida. On the day we finished packing and got into the car to leave, we stopped at my grandparent’s house to say goodbye. My grandfather hugged me so hard it hurt. He was a giant of a man. I still remember the day my Mom took me to his office in downtown Detroit. This big office, way up high in a big building. I was starry-eyed.
Great men like this don’t cry, right?
But he did. On the day we moved to Florida, I saw his tears. I felt his sobs. I heard him try to speak but he couldn’t. It broke his heart for us to leave.
And I knew then – it never goes away. Homesickness would be with me for the rest of my life. It’s simple, isn’t it? We are not supposed to be far from home, far from those we love. It’s where we are safe, secure, and protected. No monsters. No fear.
“You’ll grow out of it,” a camp counselor told me when I was 12. It was my first summer away from home. With my face red and swollen from crying, embarrassed by my peers who called me names, I assured him he was wrong.
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I told this story to my old friend.
“It would’ve been different if I’d been raised like you -- knowing the promises of God in my heart,” I said.
“Yes and no,” he said back.
The stories came quite freely as he recounted the times when the Lord met him in his fears. “I’ve always had people around me who’ve known Jesus. They’ve known His promises. They’ve prayed and strengthened me when I had no strength. I’ve always had a home with my brothers and sisters in Christ.”
But then he shook his head and I asked why.
“I miss her,” he said sadly.
And somehow, in that moment, I realized why his fears had come back with such vengeance. All these years, since his early twenties, he’s had his wife at his side. She knew, like no one else knew, how to bring her husband to Jesus and speak His words to his heart – calming him, comforting him. She was gone now – three years, I think.
“You’re right,” he said. “It never leaves us. Homesick and afraid until He brings us home.” 2
“I wish she was here,” I whispered.
He gently nodded his head.
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“He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises,
so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature...”
2 Peter 1:4
1 Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rogers, “I Whistle A Happy Tune,” taken from the play, The King and I, Rogers and Hammerstein Organization, New York, NY, 1951
2 Iain H. Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1982, p. 23-24. ML-J, recalling his childhood, said, “I suffered at the same time from a far greater sickness, and a more painful one, which has remained with me all along life’s path – and that was (homesickness).” He also said, “I believe that I shall never totally recover from this until I reach the country where we shall meet never to part anymore.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1990. p. 51).