What God remembers about you

DSC_0007There are those days when it takes all your strength, all your courage, just to get out of bed.

As I run in the gym I listen again and again through Isaiah 40, then move on to 41, 42, 43. We are made and formed, fragile and temporary. And deeply loved and held. Again and again the two are linked: we are made, therefore carried; made, so our Maker takes our hand and helps us; made, so He stays with us through rivers that threaten to swallow and flames that threaten to destroy.

We are dust. And the one who shaped us doesn’t forget.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14)

This Wednesday, people of many Christian traditions will celebrate the beginning of Lent, the six-week journey in which we walk with Jesus toward the cross and resurrection. We will begin the journey with a liturgy in which a cross of ashes will be marked on our foreheads as a minister speaks to us the words, “Remember that you are dust.”

In our world of Vacuums and Swiffers and preoccupation with appearance, dust can seem a dirty word. Or at least a failing. But as Walter Brueggemann reminds us in his marvelous article, “Remember, you are dust,” the call to remember that we are dust is not a summons to pick up a heavier burden of guilt but a call to lighten the load, to learn again to rest in the hands of the One who himself remembers—not our sins but our creaturely fragility, not his anger, but his unfailing love and faithful provision (Ps 103).

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. momfan

    Might even help me enjoy dusting more 🙂 – just as a reminder that God’s intention is for us to be constantly aware of our ‘dusty’ condition and total dependence on Him!

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      That would be neat, Mom. Do you suppose it could also help me not mind so much all the spots that aren’t dusted around my place?!

  2. Nancy Stack

    o! i love this! i sent it on to some friends in the dust & real of life who will love it too. thanks dear one! I may share it at Tuesday bible study also if i get the chance..

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      Thanks, Nancy. I always appreciate your encouragement. And I love it when God makes the dustiness of my life a place that He uses to encourage others. Bless you. . .

  3. Klara van der Molen

    Thanks again for your honesty– each week your writing speaks directly to me– as if written just for me.It helps me to know I am not alone in this struggle to get up each day and get through it. Being Dutch makes it more complicated– we are always supposed to be super clean and organized, yet the dust continues to gather, so much to do and no energy to do it.Perhaps I need to recite Psalm 23 each and every day and accept simply ” To Be” rather than to do. Bless you for the courage to speak the words we need to hear.

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      No, you’re not alone, Klara.

      I was just thinking of you as I was looking at The Painted Prayerbook website. Knowing how you enjoy art and poetry, and thinking of what you’ve said above, I wondered if you might enjoy this post: http://paintedprayerbook.com/2014/02/27/ash-wednesday-the-hands-that-hold-the-ashes/#.UxY36ChUWB8

      There are strong and gentle hands that always hold us – our dust and our glory – in the midst of whatever we are facing.

      Much grace to you today and every day.

      Love, Carolyn

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