Hesed, a small Hebrew word that is jam packed full of God’s attributes. Picking just one attribute of God’s to be thankful for is truly impossible. Each one has infinite meaning, and forms and sustains me, but this little word comes close because it includes so much. It includes having God’s favor, mercy, lovingkindness, goodness, affection, preservation, redemption, faithfulness and so much more. Lamentations is an interesting space to find a verse that deals with God’s faithfulness and favor, His mercy, but it is where we find one of my favorites, “Because of the Lord’s great love (hesed) we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Every day God has an infinite amount of hesed towards me. I do not deserve it. I fail to appreciate it many times, or pay attention to it, but it is very real and very sustaining. Not because of me, but because of who He is, I am not consumed.
Often, I have said I would have zapped me long ago. Thankfully because God is merciful and for me, He has a plan that involves me. He is making all things new because of His Hesed, lovingkindness, patient love, goodness, because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever He cannot forsake who He is and who He is for. I feel like it has been a very slow journey to learn how to begin to grasp this concept, and figure out a way to walk in this truth. I think of people’s stories that share about that one person who believed in them, and how that changed their life. How much more, knowing that the God of the universe is for me with goodness and faithfulness. He is inviting me in to participate in His good plans He has prepared for me before time if I am willing to join Him. Learning to walk in this truth is empowering. It is not me, but God who is characterized by these attributes that is working in me and for me. He goes before me.
Lately, I have been trying to wrap my finite mind around a Latin phrase that pairs well with all this, Coram Deo, before the face of God, or in the presence of God. The concept that we are always in God’s presence. Our lives are lived in front of His eyes. He never takes His eyes off us. Coupled with the concept of Hesed, this is a beautiful, comforting thought. God is for me and faithful. He is patient and lovingly teaching and guiding me. Preparing me always for what I am to face, closer than the closest friend, more faithful than any human could ever be. When I am brokenhearted He says He is close. (Psalm 34:18). There is nowhere I can go or someone can take me, that He is not already there (Psalm 139:7-12).
This is good news. I am praying that I will be more conscious of these thoughts as I go about my days so I do not miss this “one wild and precious life” as Mary Oliver calls it. Counting gifts, remembering that every good and perfect gift is from our Father above changes the way I live. It changes the way I interact with others, or receive and interact in situations. When I lose tract of who God is, and what He is like, I lose tract of who I am, because I am created in His image. I am to be holy as He is holy. I need to pay attention to Him and copy Him. As I remember this Coram Deo, I think about what God is really like, and Hesed floats through my mind and the squirrelly, cluttered, loud thoughts clear away so I can hear and see God, and remember His mercies that are new every morning. All my days get to be walked in His presence with His favor.