Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me. ~ Philippians 2:25-30
Praying for God’s mercy has become my go-to so often when I pray for others who are in trouble. In the text above Paul refers to his dear friend, Epaphroditus, who was very sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on Epaphroditus and healed him. Not only was God merciful to Epaphroditus, but God was also merciful to Paul. Paul says, God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
Death affects more than the one dying. Death also affects family and friends by the sorrow it brings. It’s important that we understand that even as Christians we still need God’s mercy. The writer of Hebrews encourages us that because Jesus, who was tempted at all points like we are, is at the right hand of God, we should come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:16
We all know that we are dependent on God’s grace, but let us not forget God’s mercy because we need it just as much. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s people appealed to God’s mercy in times of trouble. Mercy is not just for the sinner, it is for the saint as well, and we all need God’s mercy in our lives especially in times of crisis.
Nothing expresses humility in prayer like the plea for mercy, and when we seek God’s mercy we are humbling ourselves and appealing to God’s kindness and compassion to meet our needs.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy… ~ Psalm 33:18