As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;  for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.  But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children.
A universal part of human nature is being prone to forget. In the spiritual life we are shockingly good at it. We forget who God is. We forget who we are. Lent is a call to step out of the fog of our hectic distractions, to remember. To regain a grip on reality. A fleeting grip, maybe, but that’s part of our remembering—that we too, are fleeting.
"We are dust.” In one line, David tears away our pedestals of pride and self-importance. This isn’t the strong, capable image we choose for ourselves. We work hard to forget that we are dust. But why? What are we so afraid of?
When we give our mortality just a passing glance during Lent, we miss something. David, after all, stuck these words in a psalm of praise. He could do this because true praise does not emerge from emotional highs or trying to "stay positive," but from an honest look at reality.
“We are dust… but the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting…” What a contrast. Our Father shows compassion to us, his children, not in spite of our frame, but because of it. “He remembers we are dust." The sober truth of our frailty in verses 14 and 15 is literally surrounded by the greater truth of God’s eternal love for us in verses 13 and 17.
This is reality: that Christ gave his life for us, who are dust. In that light we find purpose and hope to live these brief lives of ours. The life we have in him is eternal, and that life begins now. So "like a flower of the field," we will soon return to dust but for now, in light of eternity, we are to flourish. He remembers. May we remember too.
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