The Terrible Speed of Mercy
“I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’…
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” —Psalm 32:5
I asked Siri “What is the shortest unit of time?” She pondered the question for a moment and answered, “The time for light to travel one Plank length.”
Not even close.
The shortest unit of time is the interval between the confession of our transgressions and God’s complete forgiveness. David said, “I will confess my sins….” And before he could put his confession into words, God’s forgiveness washed over him.
Amy Carmichael wrote, “A day or two ago I was thinking rather sadly of the past—so many sins and failures and lapses of every kind. I was reading Isaiah 43, and in verse 24 I saw myself: ‘Thou hast wearied me with thine many iniquities.’ And then for the first time I noticed that there is no space between v. 24 and v. 25, ‘I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake; and I will not remember thy sins.’”
When we confess our sins, God does not say, “Let me think about this for a moment.” Or, “You’ll have to be on probation for awhile.” No, He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”—instantaneously.
No one puts this any better than Flannery O’Connor at the end of her novel The Violent Bear It Away when her prophet Francis Tarwater receives his long-awaited call: “GO WARN THE CHILDREN OF GOD OF THE TERRIBLE SPEED OF MERCY.”