First sung, written and performed by Cat Stevens in 1967, the song The First Cut is the Deepest, has been re-recorded by several musical artists including Sheryl Crow’s popular version in 2003. The lyrics are about a relationship gone sour. However, as a Christian, I find it interesting to think about how the lyrics might apply to our faith. Many today have been burned by past encounters with the Church and by the deceptive propaganda from Satan, the angel of darkness. God weeps for us. He wants to surround us with his love and replace what has been stolen by the lies of the deceiver.
“I would have given you all of my heart
But there’s someone who’s torn it apart
And he’s taking just all that I had…”
We are living in a time when Christianity is rapidly being associated with hate. Eric Metaxas in a recent interview on Fox News with Tucker Carlson speaks of the burning of churches and the destruction of statues of historic Christian leaders that are being defamed and torn down along with the increasing hatred of Christianity. The global church has been under attack for years and in my travels, I have wept many times with and for believers who have told me their stories of injustice and suffering. The cuts are deep.
It cuts to the quick.
This phrase is an interesting English idiom with a long history. It means to injure someone emotionally – deeply distress them, with words or action. The quick of your nail is the sensitive skin just under your fingernail or toenail and we have all experienced how painful an injury to that part of your body can be when we have stubbed our toes. Our first reaction when we injure them is to grab and hold them tight. That is what God wants to do to us – grab us tight. He wants us to reach for Him and hold tight to His healing, comfort and provision. And He wants to surround us with His mercy and love.
God’s mercy surrounds us.
Rachamim is the Hebrew word for the womb. It is actually a verb taken from a noun meaning that God “wombs” us or is “wombing” us. Like the boundaryless love of a mother who carries her child with a deep knowledge that the child is hers and yet not hers. It will one day be free to choose to love and make choices. We are in God’s womb. He created us but then gave us our freedom to choose. God is our Father, but we can’t talk about God without knowing how He “mothers’ us with His mercy. His grace encapsulates us. In Deuteronomy 30:6 it says, “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” God wants us to live but knowing that we are surrounded on all sides with His presence.
I love this video of one guitar but two players. Each is surrounded by each other, but each contributes to the music. What are you surrounding your life with today? What consumes and shapes its sound? Do they see the love of Jesus in the sound of your life? Or do others see hate? Psalm 145:9 (TPT) says,” God, everyone sees your goodness, for your tender love is blended into everything you do.” Do you dwell in the house of God where there is “goodness and mercy?” Psalm 23:6?
God’s mercy sustains us.
What are you hoping will sustain you as COVID continues to devour our freedom, finances, and lives? Is there a date on the calendar you are looking toward that will bring a cure and bring an end to this nightmare pandemic? Are you relying on science and technology to sustain you, so you just have to make it through the next few months? Until of course, the next disruption hits?
God mercy does more than bring hope. It sustains us through every disaster, disruption and the suffering it brings. His surrounding arms encapsulates us and can only be felt when we surrender into His womb. Even more so, His mercy gives us strength and power to persevere. Lamentation 3: 22 says,” Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”
God’s mercy sends us out.
Let’s be known as Christians who love because we give love. We bring God’s sustaining all encompassing love to others in the places we go, work and live. Paul taught it this way in Second Corinthians 4: 1-5 (TPT), “Now, it’s because of God’s mercy that we have been entrusted with the privilege of this new covenant ministry. And we will not quit or faint with weariness. We reject every shameful cover-up and refuse to resort to cunning trickery or distorting the Word of God. Instead, we open up our souls to you by presenting the truth to everyone’s conscience in the sight and presence of God. Even if our gospel message is veiled, it is only veiled to those who are perishing, for their minds have been blinded by the god of this age, leaving them in unbelief. Their blindness keeps them from seeing the dayspring light of the wonderful news of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is the divine image of God”
The culture today has been veiled, blinded, and is suffering from the pain of many kinds of deep cuts – racial injustice, political dysfunction, health issues, financial disruptions and many more but God’s mercy surrounds, sustains, and sends us back out into the world. He asks us to be His heart and hands extended to others in love. He wants them to try again to see His love. Will you be a conduit of His love?
“The first cut is the deepest, baby, I know
The first cut is the deepest
Try to love again”