Most times, my biggest obstacle to understanding God as a God of unrelenting kindness and mercy is -- me.
It's hard most of the time to accept that God is willing to be with me where I am, and draw me toward him, as I am able. It's more compelling, more logically God-like (meaning, how I would be if I were God) to perceive that God wants my working at being better, and my feeling bad at my failings.
What helps me remember Gods' rare, relentless grace?
- Psalm 139. (One of my favorites. Try reading it several times, then reading it again but this time, shifting the point of view from your self to God. Bob, I have investigated your life. I know your thoughts firsthand... I always find this leads to the most amazing conversations with God.)
- Pierce Pettis' "God Believes in You."
- The Virgin of Vladimir (above)
- Remembering how, even when I fail, God comes to me with a healing embrace, not a wagging finger.
- Reflecting on the manger, and the cross. How can a God who would go to such lengths to restore God's people not be the God whose compassion has not turned warm and tender, and who has not shown that he will not execute his fierce anger?