God Remembers Our Human Condition

God Remembers Our Human Condition

God Remembers Our Human Condition.

“God remembers that we are creatures of flesh. He is mindful of how He formed us, that we were made from mere dust. He knows that we are frail, fragile, and short-lived… like a passing breeze that does not return; or like a wildflower in the field that flourishes and then it is gone, as if it had never been there. Our brief, vulnerable life on earth is like a wisp of morning fog catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. God is mindful of all this and is always prepared to help us in our time of need. Despite our brevity on earth and our human condition, God in His mercy will not break a bruised reed, and he will not extinguish a dimly burning wick.”  (Ps. 78:38-39; Ps. 103:14-16; James 4:14; Hebrews 4:16; Isaiah 42:3).

Out of sheer mercy, the Lord is mindful of our humanity, that we have soft spots and are vulnerable as we, along with all creation, groan for final redemption. God is high and holy and better than perfect, and yet amazingly is sympathetic to our human frailties. At one point in human history, a person would be right to challenge God and respectfully say, But God, you seem to be so hard on us, and you don’t know what it’s like to face these challenges at the human level! You don’t know what it’s like to be flesh and blood! But now, we have no right to even consider that, do we? God so identifies with our earthly plight that He became flesh and blood! He knows what it feels like! God knows firsthand that life is brief and that we are faced with our human condition every day. God is always mindful, He constantly remembers, our frailty. And He stands ready in His grace to do what is necessary to meet us where we are and love us into the New Creation. When we show our humanity, that we are made of dust, God is poised to intervene and redeem the soft spots in His strength and power. When we are human, God keeps His promises.

(1.) When we are weak, God empowers us.

Human weakness can be understood as a lack of strength due to: sickness; a handicap; an on-going difficulty; a distressing hardship; insulting opposition; a glaring vulnerability; a limitation that puts one at a disadvantage; the bearing of the difficult burdens of others.

“I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me: ‘My favor and lovingkindness are enough for you; My merciful love is all you need. In fact, my strength comes into its own in your weakness. My power shows itself most effective when you are weak.’ Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weakness and infirmities, so that the strength of Christ Jesus may pitch a tent over me and dwell upon me. Now I take limitations in stride and with good cheer, taking pleasure in opposition, in bad breaks, in insults, in weaknesses, in perplexities, in distresses, and in all kinds of hardships. I just let Christ take over! For when I am weak in human strength, then am I truly powerful in divine strength. The weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; a weaving together of the Message, NIV and Amplified Bible versions).

(2.) When we are burdened, God will sustain us.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30).

Jesus stands there in a crowd and opens His arms wide. “Come to Me,” He says. Come to Me if you are finding life burdensome. Maybe your heavy burdens are all these extra regulations from the Pharisees that are laying heavy on you, and all their laws that seem meaningless and too demanding. Maybe your heavy burdens are due to all the responsibilities you carry that are difficult to manage. Maybe the heavy burdens you carry are simply the guilt you have from your sinfulness. Maybe you feel heavy burdened because life just isn’t turning out be the way you wanted and you don’t know what to do about that. Whatever your burdens, come to Me for a real rest and refreshment. If you share My yoke with Me, you can watch Me work, watch how I do things. You can learn My way while at My side. And we can be partners in carrying your load of burdens. Share your burdens with Me, and they will seem lighter to bear. For I am not a hard-driving taskmaster full of pride and ambition. I am easy to please. For I am meek, with My strength under God’s control. I am lowly and have learned to depend on God. With Me, your burdens will be more meaningful, satisfying and lighter on your spirit. Come to Me, and you will learn “the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Peterson). To help ease your burdens with the Temple leaders, I will soon be very clear in My complaints against them: “Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in a bundle of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help.” (Matt. 23:4, MSG). You know that the other meaning of yoke is a rabbi’s teaching, submitting to a teacher’s instruction of Torah. Well, My yoke, my teaching, will not give you more burdens to bear. My instruction will be delightful, wholesome, comfortable to wear. If you come to me and submit to my Torah teaching, it will not be burdensome or heavy on your spirit, for I will help you live in the way I’m speaking about. It will be light and easier to bear. Speaking of Torah, you realize, don’t you, that I referred to two wonderful quotes from Torah in my words here… First, when Yahweh said to Moses, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.‘ (Ex. 33:14); and I love this Scripture from Jeremiah: ‘And thus says the Lord, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.” (6:16). Come to me, and I will fulfill those Scriptures before your very eyes. Come to me, says the Lord… “Release the weight of your burdens and unload your cares on the Lord, and He promises to sustain you, His immeasurable grace will strengthen you.” (Psalm 55:22).

(3.) When we are abandoned, God will remain with us.

“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never forsake or abandon them.” (Is. 41:17).

The merciful and compassionate God will never abandon us, wouldn’t even consider forsaking us. As Jesus told His disciples, He will never leave us helpless, He will never leave us as orphans. As the Lord Yahweh said through Isaiah, Can a woman forget her nursing child and not have compassion on the child of her womb? Even if that were possible, even if you are forgotten, I will not forget you, says the Lord. See, I have tattooed your name on the palm of each of my hands. The psalmist David declared his trust in the Lord by saying, Even if my father and mother forsake me, even if they abandon me in my time of need, the Lord will receive me, He will gather me up and take me in. Yahweh spoke of His faithfulness as He said through Isaiah, I will make darkness light before them, I will make crooked places straight. I will show mercy on my people and will not abandon them. Moses encouraged the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land with these profound words of God’s sufficiency, The Lord is the One who goes before you, He will be with you. The Lord will not leave you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid or downhearted. The Lord your God will never forsake you. He is like a good shepherd who tends His flock and pastures them with love. He gathers the lambs with His arms, and carries them close to His heart. He gently leads those who are with young to their rest. (Is. 41:7; John 14:18; Is. 49:15; Ps. 27:10; Is. 42:16; Deut. 31:8; Is. 40:11).

(4.) When we are shamed, God will heal us. 

“All you who hope in the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, for with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. God has a thousand ways to set us free. This hope will not let us down or put us to shame, because the love of God has already been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. So my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices, my body also will rest in hope.” (Ps. 31:24; Ps. 130:7; Romans 5:5; Ps. 16:9). 

Psychiatrist and author Dr. Curt Thompson has a very helpful section in his outstanding book called The Soul of Shame. In this one section he discusses Hebrews 12:2, where its writer says that Christ “endured the cross, despising the shame.” Dr. Thompson discusses how Jesus laid out a pattern for us on how to deal with shame. Translations of the word ‘despise’ also use words like scorn and disregard. Jesus scorned the shame associated with the cross. He faced His shame head on, He was aware of its presence and didn’t pretend it wasn’t there. He acknowledged the shame and turned away, as if He didn’t think anything of it. He fearlessly confronted His shame while not being overrun by it. He turned attention away from the shame after addressing its reality, and turned towards His Father and what He was being asked to do. In His vulnerability, He scorned shame, He faced it down and overcame it by rejecting it, because of the love and acceptance He felt from the Father. Jesus disregarded the shame and pushed it into the margins in terms of its importance. So Jesus knows all about the shame of abuse firsthand. He experienced it to the extreme. He understands it, and He offers His understanding to all who have suffered undeserved shame, all who have been stripped of their dignity as image-bearers of God. Christ is able to identify with all those suffering from shame, for the shamed suffer the very pains experienced by Jesus.

(5.) When we are fearful, God brings us peace.

Human Fear: dread or alarm in facing danger; to be afraid or apprehensive; anxiety caused by belief in approaching danger or by a perceived threat; feeling frightened concerning one’s safety or a loved one’s well-being; unpleasant emotions due to the likelihood of something unwelcome or undesirable; trepidation over unexpected crisis.  Humans might fear… dementia; poverty; sickness; disaster; intimidation; climate change; public speaking; public shame; disability; loneliness; rejection; failure; pain; death; the unexpected; opposition; the Apocalypse; loss of loved one.

Abraham was afraid, and God promised him protection and faithfulness (Gen. 15);

Isaac was afraid, and God promised His presence and continued blessings (Gen. 26);

The Israelites were afraid at the Red Sea, and God promised deliverance (Ex. 14);

The Hebrew warriors were afraid, and the Lord promised them victory (Deut. 20);

Joshua was afraid, and God promised him guidance and success (Josh. 1);

Gideon was afraid, and God accepted him and promised His sufficiency (Judges 6);

Jeremiah was afraid, and God promised to put His words into his mouth (Jer. 1);

Ezekiel was afraid, and God gave him His holy Word to digest (Ezek. 2);

Daniel was afraid, and God gave him inspired visions (Dan. 10);

The disciples were afraid, and Jesus promised to send His Holy Spirit (John 14);

The disciples were afraid in the storm, and Jesus climbed in the boat with them (John 6);

The disciples were afraid when they were sent out on their own, and Jesus promised His protection and salvation (Matt. 10);

The disciples were afraid of their unworthiness, but Jesus assured them they were a part of His divine plan (Luke 5);

The two Mary’s were afraid after the Resurrection, but Jesus promised them He would go ahead of them to prepare the way (Matt. 28);

Paul was afraid during his ministry, but the Lord promised His presence, protection, and the support of other believers (Acts 18);

John was afraid of Jesus’ resurrected body, but Jesus assured him of His power and glory (Rev. 1);

The church of Smyrna was afraid of persecution, but Jesus promised salvation and the victor’s crown of life (Rev. 2).

(6.) When we die, God gives us eternal life. 

The Bible is its own best commentary. Scripture says it best. Let us read the mind of the Lord:

(1.) “If Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:10-11).

(2.) “If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because He was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.” (1 Cor. 15:16-20, MSG).

(3.) “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me.” (Psalm 49:15).

(4.) “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25).

(5.) “What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all – life healed and whole.” (1 Peter 1:3-5, MSG).

(6.) “God raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by His power.” (1 Cor. 6:14).

(7.) “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself.”  (Job 19:25-26).

(8.) “I gave up all that inferior stuff (that petty brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules), so I could know Christ personally, experience His resurrection power, be a partner in His suffering, and go all the way with Him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.” (Philippians 3:10-11, MSG).

(9.) “And I – in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness, with having sweet communion with you.” (Ps. 17:15).