Forgotten. Lost. Abandoned. Rejected. Left out. Passed over.
These words describe so many of the emotions that run through our lives. Parents who left us. A spouse who walked out on us. A parent who never said, “I love you.” A child who wants nothing to do with you. A boss who didn’t give you a promotion. A missed college opportunity. The feeling that you have no friends.
No matter how old we get, no matter how far we run or hide in relationships, we still find ourselves left out. At the very least, we find ourselves missing out.
These reasons and emotions draw us to pray. They pull us out of ourselves to seek God. This is one reason why the book of Psalms is so loved in people’s lives. It gives voice to the emotions we carry and the hurt we don’t know what to do with.
What has struck me so far in preaching through Psalms has been the number of psalms of lament, but also their placement with other psalms.
Psalms 3 – 7 and 9 – 13 are psalms of lament. Right in the middle is Psalm 8 where there is a celebration, as if a reminder that the sun does rise, the storm does end, the pain does not last forever. So in the midst of living in dark places and feeling alone, it does change. It is also a reminder for those who experience Psalm 8 and are celebrating and in the midst of joy that Psalm 9 is coming, and the sun will go down and life will happen in a way we did not expect or plan for.
What David does in Psalm 8 is important.
In verse 3 he recalls back to creation: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place.” He describes the intentionality of God’s creation, that it was not thrown together by his hands but done with the creativity and details of his fingers. He was involved and purposeful.
Then in verse 4 he lays out what is an incredible verse: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
Many of us feel forgotten, lost, left out and not cared for, not only by those around us, but by God.
Imagine right now that the God of the universe thinks of you and cares for you.
But what does that mean?
If you think of someone, if you are mindful of them, you are in a relationship with them. You know their celebrations and joys as well as their low points and pains. You remember the last good cry you had with them and the last time you laughed so hard it hurt. You know what they are dealing with, dreaming about and hoping for.
That is God’s relationship to you.
Not only that, he cares for you. He not only knows what you are walking through but cares what you are walking through.
Never again forgotten.
This is the foundation of the Christian life, that you are loved by God.
The foundation of following Jesus is not what you bring to Jesus, what you do for Jesus, how much you know about Jesus, how many Bible tests you can ace, how often you read your Bible, how much you pray or anything you do. Those are responses to God’s love.
The beginning steps of following Jesus are, “I am a beloved child of God.”
I am loved by God.
While many people say they believe this and will quote a verse or two, from my own personal life and being a pastor for almost two decades, few people live like this is a reality.
We spend so much time trying to earn God’s love and proving Jesus right for dying for us.
The only thing we did for that to happen was be broken and sinful.
What David does in this Psalm, though, is incredible. He tells us how we will remember this.
It is easy to forget that God thinks of you and cares for you. It is easy to think that God does those things because we do something or we are more spiritual or something else moves the needle on that.
David says when you and I look at creation, we will be reminded of God’s love, care and thought of us.
When you look at the mountains, the sun, the moon, the stars, you will be reminded. He takes everyday things, things we see on a daily basis, knowing that we need a daily reminder of God’s love for us.
The next time you watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset, that is a reminder of God’s love, care and thought of you.
The next time you see mountains covered in snow or rise above the clouds, that is a reminder of God’s love, care and thought of you.
The next time you see the trees change colors, that is a reminder of God’s love, care and thought of you.
The next time you put your feet in sand and let the ocean rush over them, that is a reminder of God’s love, care and thought of you.
We forget. We run. We hide. We keep God at arm’s length. We try to be impressive. We are so used to living forgotten, invisible lives that David wants us to know we are invisible no more. We are unloved no more. We are forgotten no more.