“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:12
It is easy to forget. I’m always setting alarms and reminders on my phone so I don’t forget stuff. It might be things I have to pick up at the store, a meeting, a deadline, when something needs to be done. This is especially true in these times when my calendar isn’t very full it is easy to forget to stuff that I normally never would have. It is also easy to forget what is truly important in life when we get swallowed up with petty stuff that takes on a bigger meaning then it needs to. And it is easy to forget who God truly is for us.
That is why I appreciate the following verse from Psalm 89. It is a reminder of who God is. God is gracious. God is merciful. God is abounding in steadfast love. God is faithful. So often we forget these important truths. We look at God and think of only judgment, of disappointment in our actions, of falling short of our calling as people of God. It reminded me of a coach I had in high school who never said anything good about anything. Everyone was always falling short of their expectations, even when we won or played well . It got hard to be motivated to put it all out there for that coach and it was easy to forget why we were playing in the first place. But we had an assistant coach that always walked around to us and told us when we did well, gave us encouragement, and motivated us to keep going.
Verses like this help us to do that. They remind us of who God truly is and they give us hope. Even more so, when we look to Jesus, the Son of God, we see that reminder of God’s love, faithfulness, and mercy towards us. For God sends Jesus to save us and to remind us of God’s true nature. We may sin but when we turn to the Lord, we have forgiveness and mercy. We have a God who is faithful to the promises God has made to us, and we have a God whose steadfast love surrounds and fills us.
But this verse also gives us one more reminder. And that is this: we should be striving to be like this in our own lives. To be people of mercy and compassion. To be slow to anger. To be abounding in steadfast love. So often we are quick to anger, quick to attack, quick to punish, quick to judge and condemn. We are called to a different way. A better way. A way that lifts up the other instead of tearing them down. A way of grace and compassion, even towards those we disagree with. I know that in my own life I often fail in this ideal but I keep trying because I have a Lord who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Out of thankfulness for the grace and mercy I have been shown, I try to show that same grace and mercy to others. My prayer is that you will too. That you will remember that you have a God who is gracious, merciful, loving, and faithful and that you take what you have been given by your loving God and extend it to others.
May you never forget how God truly is and see that through the work of Jesus Christ for you. And may you extend the grace, mercy, love, and faithfulness you have received to others. Amen.