“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)
David’s songs resonate like water heaving itself across rugged cliffs and plunging hundreds of feet to crash on river rock below; his psalms have the voice of a thousand waterfalls cascading in full force.
In the compelling language of Psalm 103, God is beyond us and yet completely on our side. Our God defies understanding and yet entirely grasps our limitations. We cannot begin to fathom his splendor and worth; he is revealing himself, unveiling himself, marking us with a love without the slightest limitations. He is Father, bending low, sweeping us close, showing compassion to our finite form. Our days disintegrate like faded weeds, our brief impact barely more than wind scattering fallen leaves. We disappear and hardly leave a trace behind; he remains everlasting, unending, perfect, and permanent.
We find ourselves in a pit; he is redeemer and rescuer. Disease clings to us, and his hands heal and restore. We are stained by iniquity from birth, but he provides forgiveness and righteousness without ever dangling it before us as reminder of our wretched past. He is altogether in the business of removing our transgressions in that spectacular, incalculable fashion, measured as far as east is from west.
Because he is “Merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…he does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” In contrast, his love for us is as measureless as the distance between heaven and earth; the cost of this healing and redemption he placed squarely on the sacred shoulders of his Son.
Phrase upon phrase, the psalm escalates and celebrates the elaborate, complex nature of our God. Here is a call to worship him intimately and extravagantly for who he is and particularly for how clearly he understands us. Knowing our frame, remembering that we are dust, he crowns us with mercy, satisfies us with goodness, and renews us to soar as if we had the power evident in eagle’s wings.
From the inside out and from the deepest part within, may our lives bring blessing to our good and gracious God. Made of dust and yet made to honor our Maker and our King.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell