Freddie Mercury sang, “I want it all, and I want it now.” This is the anthem of western culture.
Technology and commerce have combined to make it so that people can get anything they want at any time. While there are many benefits to this—like being able to connect with friends who are far away, or having access to archives of information at the click of a button—our ability to get what we want (and get it now) plays a key role in how we view what is most desirable. Fast is good. Slow is bad. “My own” is good. “Ours together” is not as good.
In Psalm 103, David writes a poem of gratitude to God based on the grand scope of the Lord’s compassion. David gives a picture of a God who rescues us, heals us, forgives us, satisfies us, and renews us (vs.1-5). But the way David frames the faithfulness of God is almost the opposite of an “I want it all and I want it now” mentality. Life in Christ is focused on “us” more than it is focused on “me.” It takes into view “forever” more than “now.” It recognizes comprehensive mercy more than focusing on individual sins (vs.10-12).
David tells us God has treated His people with this sort of compassion since before the days of Moses (vs.6-7). Not only that, the Lord’s loving-kindness comes to us in promises that reach forward to the generations to come. Think about that: God’s mercy reaches forward to the descendants of the faithful and it also reaches back to generations past. Yes, the benefits of God’s mercy come to individual people; but those blessings pass through us, down into the lives of those who come after us, and they reach us because God has dealt mercifully with those who have come before us (v.17).
The faithfulness of God outlasts us and it predates us. This helps us when we are overwhelmed with anxiety because our focus is on ourselves, right now. God deals kindly with us by reminding us that we are not the heroes of our own stories. We never have been. We are supporting characters in an epic that has been underway since long before we were born, and which will carry on long after we have died. We are folded into that story through faith in the kindness and mercy of God, which we find in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
May we thank the Lord that His mercy is anchored in promises given to people who lived long before we were born, and that those same promises hold for all eternity. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (v.8). He always has been and He always will be. In Christ, He gives us everything we need, forever. Bless His name.
written by Russ Ramsey