Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Dipping The Quill Deeper: A Cry for Mercy

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

My daily devotions come from a book titled A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants, compiled and edited by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck. Within its pages are weekly divisions of scripture verses, reflections from those who have come before us or walk beside us, invocations and benedictions, guides for prayers and reflection, and hymns to sing (although I usually just speak them as I would a poem). Often quoted within the leather-bound pages is Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996), a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer, and theologian. 


In his 1981 work, A Cry for Mercy, Nouwen penned these words to God: I have read many books about the Christian life and have even written a few myself. Still, as impressed as I am, I am more impressed by the enormous abyss between my insights and my life. 


It seems as if I am standing on one side of a huge canyon and see how I should grow toward you, live in your presence and serve you, but cannot reach the other side of the canyon where you are . . . Sometimes I even have the painful feeling that the clearer the vision, the more aware I am of the depth of the canyon. 


Ever feel this way? Ever feel, Christian writer, as though with all the theological research and writing you do, you really should have this whole relationship with Jesus thing figured out. And, just when you think you do . . . or might . . . or could . . . you realize that with all the knowledge  you have, with all the writing you’ve done, with all the books you’ve read (including the Bible), there is still so much to know, so far to grow, to reach God.


The difficulty comes, of course, when we are set to write specifically about a topic God has placed on our hearts. Then the enemy becomes aware and raises the stakes. And we, though we are focused clearly on God, find ourselves torn between the focus and the reality of the raised stakes. We become easily unfocused. Frustrated. Time begins to slip through our fingers like fine sand through a sifter. All this leads to our feeling much like Nouwen who continued his writings with: Am I doomed to die on the wrong side of the abyss? You alone, Lord, can reach out to me and save me. You alone.


There are times, like Nouwen, when we realize that—sometimes—the thing we need saving from most is ourselves. How do we get out of our own way, stop the pity party and gain control of the situation? We do as Nouwen did . . . admit that only God can save us?


Now, listen to how Nouwen concluded this passage:


I can only keep trying to be faithful, even though I feel faithless most of the time. What else can I do but keep praying to you, even when I feel dark; to keep writing about you, even when I feel numb; to keep speaking in your name, even when I feel alone. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

I can add nothing more here except . . . Amen. Amen.


Dipping The Quill Deeper: A Cry for Mercy - @EvaMarieEverson on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Eva Marie Everson is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of its two conferences. She is the multiple award-winning author of nearly 40 works and has received awards as a speaker and Bible teacher. Eva Marie is often seen at writers conferences across the States. She served as a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild for several years, and taught as a guest professor at Taylor University in 2011. She and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they enjoy their grandchildren. They are owned by one small dog and a princess cat. 


  1. Such great inspiring words, Eva Marie! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Amen Ms. Eva Marie. Sometimes, all we can do is to take the next step on the path He has set us on. This is faith.

  3. Wow! Exactly where I woke up this morning! Resigning myself to my "condition", bemoaning all of the studying---for naught, and total loss of focus and motivation in sharing God's plans through writing. COINCIDENCE?(I think not.)