An image of a man cradling a baby, with the baby's feet in the foreground of the image.

Psalm 103 paints a particular picture of God. The psalmist doesn’t say that God is some kind of aloof, celestial headmaster expecting five-year-olds to master trigonometry. Nor does he depict him as an unreasonable boss, pressuring his employees toward impossible goals. No, the metaphor the psalmist employs is intimate and familiar. He draws a picture of God as an affectionate father, whose knowledge of his children’s weakness elicits tenderness and compassion.

That psalmist knows that God is never surprised by our failures. He never goes into a rage when we sin, and he never judges us simply because our emotions don’t always align with his truths. Though God calls us to grow in his likeness and though he delights when we do, he knows we will struggle toward that goal. Like any good father, he loves us in the midst of our struggles. Our call as Christians is not to try to please an unforgiving God, but to trust in God’s fatherly care, leaning into his compassion and relying on his kindness even as we struggle to be more like him.

 

Promises in Scripture

The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust. Psalm 103:8-14

 

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30

 

Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:19-20





Originally published June 19, 2018.