picking an apple

Picking an apple like picking mercy

Would you rather listen to this post? Perfect. Here’s the podcast link!

Mama said there’d be days like this. There’d be days when relationships strain and hopes float away and you can’t help but wait for the other shoe to drop, my mama said.

Days Like This

“Sorry, can’t make it this morning.” Her 7:00 text set me in a sad way. She said it had nothing to do with me, but I took it personally.

Thirty minutes later, the email—the “When can we talk?” kind that make your heart sink as the other shoe drops.

But there’s more. My husband took me to task for a mistake from last week. His correction was kind and true, and it stung.

By 9 o’clock it had officially become one of those days. 

Picking New Mercy 

But we don’t take days like this sitting down. Children of the Father of mercy don’t write off a whole day as a bad day before the noon bell rings. We don’t throw in the towel and give in to the sulks because this is the day that the Lord has made.

And because God gives us mercy to match troubles every day. In fact, his mercies never come to an end. And if they never end, it means they’re there every single minute. They’re there in the morning and at midday and the whole day through, like apples in September that are ripe for the picking.

But we might need to fight to see them apples. There might be sweet mercy fruit hanging on the tree, but it’s not ours till we go pick it. And finding mercy on days like these takes great spiritual pluck.

It takes soul strength like that of the weeping poet who, in the throes of hometown disaster, wrote,

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22–23

I was not singing that faithfulness tune this morning. 

Mercy to Match

Four hours after the “can we talk” summons, the hard talk was had. It was a sort of “firing” from a volunteer job. I forced a smile and started back to my car. Just as the first tears were welling up, a few cars before mine, I looked up and there was Deb. Deb is my friend Jen’s sweet mother.

The state of the day must have been written on my face because when Deb saw me, she hugged me and instantly asked,

Abigail, how can I pray? 

Mercy met me in the parking lot.

I’m pretty sure she followed me. Because when I went to the post office, there was no line. As if that weren’t enough, when Ted, our town’s friendly, face-of-the-USPS asked, “You good?” I gave a real answer: “God is good, but it’s been one of those days.”

Then Ted offered the warmest smile a man selling stamps ever gave. And it was there again, as promised. God gave mercy to match.

But I had to look up at Ted to find it. 

Defy Yourself

The more I looked, the more big and little mercies I found that afternoon, and the more my focus changed from my self-pity to God’s great mercy. Mercies were all around. But the onus was on me to focus and find them. I had to choose to think on the true and excellent and pure (Philippians 4:8).

I had to do defy my downcast soul to look up in hope, like the psalmist in Psalm 42.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are so in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

We must not be content to listen to the lies that say, “Go ahead and throw a pity party. You have the right to sulk this day away.

We, objects of mercy, have no such right. That is why we must talk back to ourselves with truth. 

Take Back the Day

In other words, we must take ourselves in hand.

We must talk to ourselves, instead of allowing “ourselves” to talk to us! Have you not realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? You must say to your soul, preach to yourself, question yourself:

“Why are you so downcast?”

Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: I will hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. 

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 20

Mama said there’d be days like this. And God said he would send fresh mercies for every one.

But to find them on days like these, we must defy ourselves, lift our eyes, and look.

Similar Posts


  1. You’ll enjoy desiringGod.org video devotional from 11/9/2017 on same theme. IIt’s called “Mercy for Today”.

    1. Thanks, Joy! I’d read a similar DG devotion, and love this: “The manna in the wilderness was given one day at a time. There was no storing up. That is the way we must depend on God’s mercy. You do not receive today the strength to bear tomorrow’s burdens. You are given mercies today for today’s troubles.” Blessings to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *