He Who Keeps

My mind truly cannot comprehend the many different facets of God that can be seemingly opposed to one another and yet consistently true of Him at the same time. There are days in my heart where I would wish him to be one characteristic and not the other, something I can understand, someone I’d rather him be so I can adequately rationalize all that I see around me, and yet, that does not last for too long before I find myself flat on my face, Micah’s name meaning ringing through my mind, echoed here in these first few words, “who is like God?”

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.
— Micah 7:18-20

I can certainly find gods that might suit my fancy depending on my fickle season and heart, but none like Him. This isn’t something I am alone in either; as we have seen time and time again in Micah, this eulogy, putting to death the religiosity of gods made with human hands blanketed by a false shroud of attempting to fit it into the worship of Yahweh is truly a call to see life as found in the gracious and merciful hands of a God who can forgive, who can pardon. Come back, return, repent. The Judeans look at the destruction around them, and yet, with clear eyes they are welcomed into a vision that sees not their faithfulness or faithlessness, but God’s steadfast commitment to upholding the covenant.

The acute tension between his display of extraordinary might in their past history and their present distress is resolved in the hope that burns in their hearts, kindled by the traditions of the past, and sustains them while the wind of present harsh reality blows with bitter cold.
— Leslie Allen

I tolerate the Fall season, watching the hours dwindle to darkness quickly, the temperatures dropping, magnificent greens turning to brilliant and saddening hues. My favorite calendar season of Advent is right around the corner, which makes it more bearable as I know that December is soon, but unlike many who call Michigan their home, the in-between of Fall has me caught in the midst of the wildly busy and longing as I work hard to keep hope. This Fall in particular has been more of a battle, transition and confrontation waiting for me as both a personal decision and following consequence. The fruit seems sparse, failing, falling.

In the wrestle, it is easy to be short-sighted. Tunnel vision makes it almost impossible to see that both the hardship of what is around you and the goodness of God are true at the same time. It doesn’t make it any easier to walk through the pain and pruning that is occurring, but with the “why” questions knocking on your door at every moment, looking at “who” is a grace.

In weakness, I have not been strong enough to look back, to see that He is still and always has been faithful. Yet, other people have been strong, pointing me to those fruits not yet grown while branches are lopped off, leaves thrusting themselves to the ground, the shiver of struggle stuck to my bones. Hope, the little match that seems too quick to be blown out has been restruck again and again with the sight of friends and family that point to the lovingkindness of our Savior, with the faith to both weep and rejoice while I have silence and lament. They themselves have been a gift from the hand of Yahweh. We must remember. Who is like God?

The Fall has just begun, finally succumbing to the big sweaters and knit socks, I replace the citrus candle with a pumpkin one, baking banana bread to force myself to see the beauty of the winds that change and shift. Today, that is an act of worship, my fight to get out of my cozy bed a testament that He is not finished with this or me yet. Come back, return, repent. He is the God who keeps me, who keeps true to who He is, who keeps His Word, who keeps on.

But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
— Micah 7:7