“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Oh, Mercy!

 (I wrote this several years ago, but the message has NOT gotten old)

"The computer's not recognizing it." I took a deep breath and looked down at the laptop in front of me on the kitchen table, fighting the urge to scream.

"Not recognizing what?" my husband asked from the living room, where he'd been reading a magazine.

"The flash drive." My voice began to rise and my speech quicken. "The computer's not recognizing the flash drive. I tried unplugging it and plugging it in again, but nothing."

My husband entered the kitchen and stood beside me. "Did you try a different USB port?"

I nodded, a lump forming in my throat. "That was the only place I had the file saved."

"That wasn't very smart." He looked down at me seriously. "You should always have a backup."

I nodded. "But I didn't. That's hours of work lost, and only a couple of days until my deadline. I was only an hour or two away from being finished, too!"


The information was, for all intents and purposes, unrecoverable. The flash drive was damaged; the only way to get my work off of the drive was to send it away for days or weeks and pay thousands of dollars for data recovery. It was time, and money, I didn't have.

I suppose I could have started over, but it likely would have driven me, along with my entire family, crazy. This had been an intense, extensive weeklong project, and even the thought of trying to redo it in two days was enough to make me want to cry.

And to make matters worse (in my mind anyway), it was completely my fault. I was the one who hadn't made the backup on my computer's hard drive. I was also the one who had carelessly placed the flash drive on top of my clipboard. When I picked the clipboard up, the flash drive fell onto the wooden floor, undoubtedly causing the damage that lost all the data.

There was really only one thing I could do. I shot off an email to the project's coordinator, explaining the situation and asking what my next step should be.

I was quite thankful that my boss was the understanding, sweet Christian woman that she was - and that she wasn't counting on me alone to complete the project. Some other bosses I have had in the past likely would have jumped down my throat for my carelessness and required me to get it done, perfectly, on time, no matter the circumstances.

My project coordinator, on the other hand, extended both mercy and sympathy. She would allow the others to complete the job without me, and didn't begrudge me my errors. I was off the hook.

Our "Heavenly Boss" is like that too, isn't he? Often, he will give us a job to do, and we will mess it up - probably more often than we'd like to admit. We're often afraid to confess our errors or sins to the Lord, frightened, perhaps, of His reaction.

Yet, like my project coordinator, God is compassionate and merciful. He knows we are only human, and that "things happen." If we ask, He will forgive us, and often give us a chance to try again.

I will soon have another chance to work under this project coordinator. I have a feeling that, just like my Heavenly Boss, she will give me another opportunity to serve. That's what mercy is all about, isn't it?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV 

Have you experienced God's wonderful mercy lately? Have you GIVEN it to someone who messed up? Have you thanked the Lord for His wonderful mercy?

Comment below, and/ or stop by Living by Grace and we can chat a bit!

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength


  1. Love this, Joanne! It reminds me of a verse I read Saturday:

    Ephesians 4:2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."

  2. Ack! Those are nightmare moments! Trusting you will have tons and tons of inspiration and grace and that your do-over will be even better than the original!

  3. Perfect example of mercy. Makes me think of a quote I heard not long ago by TD Jakes. He said the innocent do not need mercy.


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