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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)

TITLE: Oh, Mercy!
By Joanne Sher


"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 wood 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

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This article has been read 1277 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry05/03/07
Oh, I feel the frustration here with the lost work. It's so true, too, that our Heavenly Father has compassion for us, even when we "mess up." Those people who also have compassion for us reflect God's love as well. Nicely done.
Myrna Noyes05/04/07
Oh, I did like this marvelously merciful account!! :D You did an excellent job of bringing out an encouraging lesson from a discouraging situation! Mercy is one of my favorite subjects, because it is one thing of which I am often in need! (I can think of something that happened today where I made a big mistake I hated to confess to someone, but was shown such gracious mercy, too! :D :D )
Lynda Schultz 05/04/07
I doubt that there would be room enough in any notebook to count the number of times God has extended mercy to me, or to any of us. With that kind of "boss" it is our pleasure and our goal to do a better job at the "project" that next time He assigns one.

Thanks for this wonderful reminder. We all can identify.
Leigh MacKelvey05/05/07
I liked the contrast between pure frustration, ugliness of guilt aand then the peace, relief found in mercy,and beautiful compassion and love.
You made me feel that contrast with your writing.
I alternated with feeling my chest tighten and then feeling myself breathe again!

Dolores Stohler05/07/07
An excellent devotional! I don't know what a flash drive is but I can sympathize. And any boss who can't forgive errors is unworthy of his job.
Cheri Hardaway 05/07/07
As Lynda said, "With that kind of "boss" it is our pleasure and our goal to do a better job at the "project" that next time He assigns one." Not only is it our goal to do a better job, but we must learn to extend the same kind of mercy to others when they need it from us in life. This was a great illustration of a character quality that each of us should strive to develop, so that people can see Him in us! Nice job. Thanks, Cheri
Loren T. Lowery05/07/07
Your title drew me in and I wasn't disappointed by the read...count me among those thankful for God's everlasting mercies!
Jan Ackerson 05/07/07
Oh dear, having been through a recent computer disaster, I can really relate. Really effective way to get your message across!
Ann Grover05/07/07
Excellent job, from the title to the ending... enjoyed this very much...
Catrina Bradley 05/07/07
Mercy is one of my favorite attributes of God - He so freely gives us. Great lesson! (And you would probably believe how careful I've been with my flash drive since I first read this.)
:) Cat
Sharlyn Guthrie05/07/07
This spoke to me as a teacher. It might be easier (and often necessary) to strictly enforce the rules, but mercy is a most welcome gift at any stage of life, and usually one we don't soon forget. Thanks for the reminder.
Patty Wysong05/08/07
What a good lesson! The example you packaged it in is one so many of us can relate to, which increased it's impact. Good job making us feel the frustration (and disappointment) and then allowing us to experience the mercy with you. God's mercy is tremendous!!
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/09/07
Knowing exactly what you were talking about made this even more real to me, especially since I've been there--sweet forgiving boss and all. ;-) Great point and great writing. I'm glad you could turn your stress into something good, anyway.
Mariane Holbrook 05/09/07
Your title grabbed me. And I'm so glad it did because it was an excellent read. Mercy is such a wonderful attribute of God. Your handling of this was superb.
Jacquelyn Horne05/09/07
Wonderful article on mercy. A very good example here. Good writting.
Rita Garcia05/09/07
Yes, "That's what mercy is all about." Wonderful inspiration!
Laury Hubrich 09/08/08
Oh, mercy! What a lesson to be learned. I will take it to heart, my dear, and always make a back up -- tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow:) ROFL! Sorry, I am the eternal procrastinator!
Beth LaBuff 09/08/08
It sounds like your project coordinator has been around her Project Coordinator so much that she imitates Him. Very nice Joanne! Beautiful thoughts, wonderful devotion!