“What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” Psalm 8:4
In the course of ministry, I come across a lot of lost, broken and hurting people. You would think that these are non-believers, without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But no, many of these are Christians who have been in church for quite a while. Regardless their background, situation, experience or spiritual maturity, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that apart from a real relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, humanity is desperately and devastatingly doomed. By our own strength, we are such a hopeless bunch! Yep, that’s right … totally and utterly hopeless. And to think that God would stoop to our level to reach out to us that He might save us – that boggles me! I mean, what does He see in us at all?
Think about it for a moment. He calls, we run away. He promises, we don’t believe. He gives, we take Him for granted. He loves, we reject Him. He blesses, we are never satisfied. He forgives, we sin again, and again, and again, and again. But does He stop? Is He deterred at all? Not at all! He promptly does it all over again! How do you explain that? No wonder the psalmist declares, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” We don’t deserve His attention, not one bit. We don’t deserve the blessings in our lives, nor the grace and favour we enjoy day after day, moment by moment. And I am not just referring to Christians here. Even non-believers enjoy God’s providential love and grace, whether they acknowledge Him or not. Truly, it blows my mind … what is man that You are mindful of him?
The psalmist looks and marvels at creation, the work of an all-powerful God, and wonders, “Where and how do I fit into all these?” I am so small, so insignificant. And yet, this God loves and cares for me. I keep messing up and He keeps cleaning up. I keep running and He keeps pursuing. Indeed, how does one make any sense of this? Little wonder then that it is so easy and so tempting to think that God exists to serve me, and not the other way around. How else can anyone explain this strange phenomenon of a God who constantly chases after Man? And so, in the finiteness – and selfishness – of our hearts and minds, we conclude, “Yes, I am the centre of the universe and that’s why God simply can’t do without me!” Oh, hearts that are so prone to being deceived; how naive, how gullible, how fallen. And yet, His grace reaches out to us?! What is man that You are mindful of him?
Is there even an answer that could satisfactorily address this aching question in the psalmist’s heart? I’ve heard many sermons and propositions about how we are made in God’s image, that we have a purpose, that God has a plan for each of us, that we are special in His heart, that … and the list goes on. These are all so nice and encouraging to hear, but I believe it still falls far short of fully comprehending the amazing love and grace of God and the relationship we have been privileged to have with Him. That He would create us in the first place. That He would send His only Son to die for our sins and in our place. That He would give us His Holy Spirit to enable and empower us. That He would bring us into His very presence. That He would allow us to participate in the work of His Kingdom. That He would one day share His glory with us. That He would …
Wow, wow, wow! I still can’t take it all in. But should that even be a surprise at all? After all, how can a finite being ever hope to fully fathom or comprehend One who is infinite? It’s best to just leave the discussion as it is and join the psalmist in gaping awe and wonder, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?”