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Has God Forgotten to be Gracious?

How many times have you felt like you have completely exhausted God’s compassion and grace?  I used to make a habit of saying, “I know I frustrate His grace.”  Wise friends would respond, “Jessica, there is no frustrating grace.”  Grace wouldn’t be grace if it got frustrated.

As I read through the Psalms this morning, I was struck, in particular by parts of Psalm 77 in particular, verses 7-9.

“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?  Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?  Has God forgotten to be gracious?  Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” (ESV)

I don’t know about you, but to me, that reads like a page from the journal of the fallen.  It could read like a page from my own journal, at times.  When we stumble and slip and come crashing down in our sin, it can feel like God is gone.  He must certainly be fed up with us, finished with us.

And sometimes it feels like He has forgotten grace.

When we are still single after years of waiting.  When He does not seem to answer our prayers.  When we cannot seem to find freedom.  When we apologize but remain unforgiven.  When we battle physical illness or emotional pain.  Whenever we have one of those “God, really!?” moments.  Those are the moments that we can think, “Did I just mess up for the last time?  Is God done with me?”

As I read those verses, they resonated in my heart.  What an honest show of emotion on behalf of the Psalmist.  Questions so many of us have asked ourselves, so I kept reading to find the answer.

“Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.  Your way, O God, is holy.  What god is great like our God?  You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.  You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph”

Now, you might be thinking, “But, that isn’t an answer!”  That doesn’t answer the question of whether or not God has forgotten to be gracious.

Oh, but it does.

Lift up your eyes.  Look at the one you are asking!

What has just happened here in this passage is a major change in thought pattern.  In one breath the Psalmist is crying out asking if God has completely forgotten.  In the next, it is the Psalmist who is remembering.

See, God cannot forget to be gracious.  Grace is part of His character.  It would be like you forgetting to breathe.  Now, that grace is metered by His other attributes- justice, love, mercy, loving chastisement, holiness, etc.  Which means that we may not always feel His grace, but He never ceases to be gracious.

It’s a beautiful pattern of thought for us.  When those moments of despair come and you are convinced that God has totally forgotten His promises and has totally forgotten that you are His child, stop.  Take a moment to remember all that He has done.  Remember the ways He has shown His grace.

Here is what I have found to be true:

The times we feel God has forgotten to be gracious are the times that we have forgotten His grace.