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
We are not very understanding or tolerant of our limitations. We forget how we are 'formed'. Instead of accepting our humanity as a good gift from God, we often find ourselves being harshly judgmental and unforgiving of ourselves. This lack of compassion can lead to self-abusive and self-neglectful behaviors. When we forget how we are formed, we can forget to take care of such basic needs such as sleep, decent food and relaxation.
Fortunately, God does not forget how we are formed. God remembers. God knows we have limitations. God remembers that we are 'dust'. Because we are so intolerant of our limits, it is important to emphasize that the metaphor 'dust' in this text does not imply worthless. It is not that God remembers how worthless we are - just dust to be sweep up and thrown away . Quite to the contrary, God remembers our weakness and limitations and has compassion on us. Again, because we are so intolerant of our limits, it is also probably important to emphasize that 'compassion' is not 'pity'. God does not pity us poor, pathetic, helpless mortals. Quite to the contrary, God's compassion is the tender, loving care of a good parent towards a child.
God knows and respects our limitations. They are not a surprise to God. God is our Creator. God remembers what we tend to forget. God remembers that we are human.
Thank you, Lord, for remembering what I forget.
You remember that I am human,
that I need to sleep,
that I need to play,
that I have limited strength and ability.
Thank you for having reasonable expectations of me.
Thank you for understanding my limits.
Help me to be compassionate with my humanness
Even as you, Lord,
are compassionate toward me.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery