In the Bible today, I read Psalm 78, the number reminding me of the year I was born, 1978. The chapter, although maybe not familiar, covers an idea or a pattern that is familiar to you if you’ve every heard any stories about God’s people in the Old Testament.
Basically their story goes like this: They screw up over and over. Then they screw up some more. Just when you think they’ve got it under control, they screw up. Here and there they get it right, but then they mess things up again.
So this particular chapter in Psalm rehashes some of the history there. How God reaches down to rescue them from slavery, deliver them from enemies, the parting of the Red Sea, He feeds them, gives them water to drink from rocks, basically takes care of them. They are thankful for a second, then guess what happens next? They screw up!
They get to wondering where God is, why He isn’t helping them, doubting His ability to help them when they think they need it most even though He literally brought water from a rock. Or food from angels. Or split a giant sea.
So then I get to verse 38. “Yet He was compassionate…” It jumps out at me. After all the doubt and what I would call disappointing behavior, God has compassion.
I find so much encouragement there! Gosh, He’s so much better than me. He is amazing for relenting on His anger, for having patience with people that have such short memories. He must’ve felt like He was walking on egg shells with them! But hello, only a couple of chapters before it says, “Your arrows flashed back and forth. The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; lightning lit up the sky.” So I don’t think God recognizes egg shells anyway.
He will do what He wants, when He wants. And let’s be grateful a lot of times that includes having compassion! My prayer today is that He will yet be compassionate. In all our messiness, in the moments I choose anything other than trust, Lord, I beg you to have compassion on us, on me, and love us still!
-Out of the Wilderness