In church not too long ago, a few statements were made about grace and then it became grace and mercy. It confused me because I felt like, in that moment, I didn’t understand the difference between grace and mercy. Mercy was being used as a synonym for grace, and that confused me. I am a curious person and find that the internet is more than just mildly useful. I immediately looked up the words and confirmed the meanings.
Mercy is the withholding of deserved punishment. Mercy is that we are not punished for what we have done or left undone. God’s mercy is unrelenting; He does not change His mind about it.
Grace, though, is an unmerited gift. It is receiving good that which we have not earned. We have not earned love, yet God loves us. We have grace unbound from God, our father.
The grace that we receive is unlimited. He has given us grace to save us, bring us to Him and love us unconditionally. His grace extends to us when we most need, whatever we need. Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) affirms this: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
When we are overwhelmed with things to do, a schedule to keep, overwhelmed with sadness or grief, overwhelmed with depression or debt, overwhelmed with pessimism, overwhelmed by harsh work environments or colleagues. When we are out of patience, full of anger, or frustrated by lack of action, his grace provides. Whatever overwhelms us, God has sent grace to fill in the gaps that we have, then to gently lead us out of the way, so that he carries the burden. It is then that we rest in Him, in His grace which completes us. His grace gives us the strength and the breath and the life to go on.
It is when we are able to go on that we can re-set the sense of being overwhelmed or full of all that has unsettled us. His grace offers us the peace and joy of the Spirit as we go on. It shares the burden and lifts the weight. His grace is always meets us where we are, meets our need.