Dust. Everyone has some, right? Some of us despise it. Some of us ignore it. And some of us have developed a friendly relationship with it. I am one of those that has come to terms with my dust. In fact, it’s my ministry to you. In spite of my dust you can come to my home for a visit anytime; if you want to see my home without dust, I might suggest you make an appointment!
We don’t have much use for dust. It’s basically a nuisance: piles up on bookshelves, mocks us from fan blades, and adorns the mantle like an unruly child demanding attention away from a serious conversation. The sun does not hide my dust, in fact, the beauty of light shining in my windows rests on my dust like the jagged scratch of a needle across Beethoven – Symphony No. 5.
Many times I think of my sin and my struggles like they are dust in my life. “If I could just get this dust cleaned-up, man, I’d shine!” “Let me just wipe this off, and I’ll feel new again!” The Psalmist of the Soul, David, talks about dust. In fact, he says God redeems dust. See, dust is not merely my sin or my struggles. Dust is me. I am dust. (Psalm 103)
David venerates our elevated God, and shows how He condescends to us in our weakness like a compassionate Father. Why does He do this? Why does He redeem me, satisfy me, show me compassion, forgive my sin, pity me? Because, He knows my frame; He remembers I’m dust. Does God have to be reminded of anything? I mean, HE made me. No, He does not have to be reminded that I am dust. But, I do.
See, I expect a lot out of me (dust). I expect that I’ll not become too tired; that I’ll accomplish more than I should; that I can fix my own problems and that of my neighbor; that I can be a really great parent, exemplary wife, the truest friend. Basically, I could be used in sermon illustrations weekly.
When (not if) I fail to live in this hyperbolic manner, my soul plummets to the lowest of the low and I think that God is fed-up with me. That this is the final straw and I’ve crossed a line where He does not want to look at my sin anymore. And while God could, and scripture tells us He does recoil from sin because of His character, that’s not how He treats me. He chooses to give me benefits like I’m His child. Because, well, I am! This is what being “In Christ” means. When God looks at me, He doesn’t see the way I’ve just blown-up at my husband or failed to speak tenderly to my erring child. He doesn’t see the poor excuse of a friend I’ve been to my friend who struggles with a wretched life situation. He doesn’t see the anger I’m trying to hide from Him because I feel I’ve been dealt a sour hand and I just want to fold all my cards back into the deck. God sees His Son; therefore, He turns to me with compassion and restores my dust. He puts it into order and somehow (doesn’t this sound like a miracle?!) my dust (I) can reflect His own character. I can be beautiful, even though I’m just dust.
Paul picks up on this and reminds me that I’m not in Christ because I’m wise dust or powerful dust or noble dust. It’s actually the fact that I’m dust that God sets His love on me, because He’s not going to share His glory with dust.
I need to be reminded that I’m dust pretty frequently. I need to be reminded that you’re dust too. It helps me keep my expectations realistic when I consider our dust, because when I’ve returned to my created state: dust, all that will remain will be the glory of our Creative and Loving Heavenly Father.