Photo by Paul Madson. Sunset over Big Lake, Arizona (captured on our last camping trip).

One of the best new books that I have read in the past 10 years is Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund (Crossway Publishers, released April 2020).

This is the kind of book that I will re-read and come back to often in the years ahead. It is theologically rich, easily accessible, and profound in its application to our daily lives.

Here is a small sample of the richness you’ll find throughout Ortlund’s book….

“Consider God’s richness in mercy for your own life. ….

Perhaps, looking at the evidence of your life,
you do not know what to conclude
except that this mercy of God in Christ
has passed you up.

Maybe you have been deeply mistreated.
Betrayed by the one person you should have been able to trust.
Taken advantage of.
Perhaps you carry a pain that will never heal till you are dead.

If my life is any evidence of the mercy of God in Christ,
you might think, I’m not impressed.

To you I say, the evidence of Christ’s mercy toward you is not your life. The evidence of his mercy toward you is his – mistreated, misunderstood, betrayed, abandoned. Eternally. In your place.

If God sent his own Son to walk through the valley of condemnation, rejection, and hell, you can trust him as you walk through your own valleys on your way to heaven.

Perhaps you have difficulty receiving the rich mercy of God in Christ not because of what others have done to you but because of what you’ve done to torpedo your life, maybe through one big, stupid decision or maybe through ten thousand little ones. You have squandered his mercy, and you know it.

To you I say, do you know what Jesus does with those who squander his mercy? He pours out more mercy. God is rich in mercy. That’s the whole point.

Whether we have been sinned against or have sinned ourselves into misery, the Bible says God is not tightfisted with mercy but openhanded, not frugal but lavish, not poor but rich.

That God is rich in mercy means that your regions of deepest shame and regret are not hotels through which divine mercy passes but homes in which divine mercy abides.

It means the things about you that make you cringe most, make him hug hardest.

It means his mercy is not calculating and cautious, like ours. It is unrestrained, flood-like, sweeping, magnanimous.”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”

(2 Corinthians 1:3 ESV)

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

(Psalm 23:6 ESV)

“But this I call to mind,
And therefore I have hope:
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 3:21-23 ESV)