Some days my soul clings to the dust. I don’t know what the Psalmist was thinking of when he penned these words– My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!– but I know that on a Thursday morning when my brain is cobwebby and my writing skills are lacking and my stomach is vaguely upset and I hit the snooze bar a few too many times, these words resonate with my soul.
We are only dust redeemed–dust given life by the Life-Giver, by the One who can take mud and make man, breathe in life and create a soul.
When God created Adam, He took a humble thing, the bane of the homemaker’s existence– dust– and elevated it to His own image with His breath. Dust was no longer just dirt, but it had become something precious, the very image of God. Man became a living soul.
And then– man chose the fruit and the disobedience and the consequence was that dust began turning to dust again. All the beauty of God’s image, marred by the dirt of sin and the return to what He had elevated us from. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Yet even in the horror and sadness of this return to dust, God offers mercy. There are few verses in Scripture as sweet as Psalm 103:13-14–
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
He remembers who we are, and He has compassion on us, and forgives us because of the Cross. Having created life from dust, He redeems us and He frees us from our messy beginnings. We have this promise–
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
One day, all this dying dust will be gone, changed for the imperishable body of eternity. But right now– God calls us to put off the flesh, to die to it, to reckon that dust already gone and our lives already fully in Him, beyond dust and sin and shame.
How often I forget. My soul clings to the dust of this world– the perishable, the wood and hay and stubble, the treasure of earth– and I forget that my treasure is in heaven, my life is in Christ, that He has something far better for me– gold and silver and precious gems.
My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
In my weakness, I cling to worthless pursuits, but real life is never found there.
In him was life . . .
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
My life is never in this dust of death to which my body will one day return. My life is “hidden in Christ with God” and all that matters is there.
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.