For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. (NLT)
We may have had the experience of visiting someone in hospital. That “someone” might happen to be a wealthy or powerful or prominent individual. But lying there in the hospital bed gives us another picture. They are uncomfortable, dependent on others, devoid of any trappings of power.
And if we find ourselves in that hospital bed, we too feel stripped of our power, our significance. We might not be able to feed ourselves or shower ourselves. We can’t just go for a walk outside. We who once felt we were movers and shakers are now far from it.
Our Psalm reminds us that God sees us as weak and dependent, whether in or out of a hospital ward. Our illusions about ourselves being masters of the universe are just that: illusions. When God looks down on us, what he sees are rows and rows of hospital beds. People like you and me are in them, needing care, not our true best selves. And we need to stress that we hospital patients receive abundant care from him.
In the Psalmist’s words, we are dust. We bloom but we die. This doesn’t mean we don’t matter. “Dust” is not an insulting, denigrating term. It simply means we are created beings dependent on our creator. We are more like hospital patients than masters of the universe.