Estelle Smith - A Handful of Dust - Washington - 2013

When we buried that little handful of ash (mother's ashes), I just realized how nothing we are.


The thought came to my mind of when Abraham stood before God pleading for Sodom.  As humbly as he could he said to God, “Behold now I have taken it upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.”  I thought also of what it tells us there in the beginning of Genesis about man being created, being formed.  There is another translation of that which I liked very much.  It says the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.  This other translation says the Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man and God breathed life into that man.  When life departs, we just realize how little we are, how powerless we are.


Maybe I should use an expression of myself of what I want to say.  We, who are nothing, so often question what God is doing.  The Bible is full of that.  There are different examples of that like; shall the pot say to the potter, “Potter what are you doing?  Have you got any hands?  Do you know what you are doing?”  I'm just putting it into my own words.  Often in our life's experience, when we can't see and we don't understand we, I, am inclined to question God, ask God why.  Why is this happening?  The wonderful thing is that, even as Job knew, I often think about Job, in all that unexplainable experience that he went through.  He said, “I know that God is behind this and I know that He knows the way that I am taking.”  I also often think of what it tells us in Jeremiah.  It is such a well-known chapter, about how God said to Jeremiah, “Get up, arise, and go down to the potter's house.”  In our experiences, it is only when God can get us to change our position that He can speak to us.  It was in this thing that the Lord said to him, “Now you get up from where you are and you walk down to this place that I want you to go to, and I will show you something.  I will explain something to you.”  How often one is not willing to be moved out of your situation in the experience?  To be changed from where you are to where God wants you to be.  


That hymn is often in my mind too.  Number 314 says, “In Thy strong hand I lay me down, so shall Thy work be done.  For who can work so wondrously as Thou, Almighty One.”  This little bit of earth that we are, this handful of dust, if we just know how to rest in the hand of Him, the Almighty One.  I have found, in my own experience, when I have struggled and questioned and fought against things that happened.  When I finally allow myself to come into the hands of the one who has formed us that such peace can descend on one.  Knowing that He knows what He is doing. Sometimes it is not very pleasant for us and the experience that we have to face.  But it is wonderful when we can look back and see that God has meant it unto good, as Joseph said.  This little handful of dust that we are, we really are nothing.  We are nothing but we can have the privilege, as Abraham said, ”I am just dust and ashes and Lord I am daring to speak to you.”  The wonderful thing is that Christ has opened the way for us to have the liberty to come unto the throne of Grace and that when we are in the time of need that we can speak to Him.  He can teach us what His mind and will is for us.  He can reveal to us what we can become.


I also thought of that hymn 88 that says, “Impress Thine image on me, fulfill Thy blest design till others see upon me that beauteous face of Thine.”  That is really all God is wanting to do with this little handful of dust, this little lump of clay that we are.


The only thing that separates us from the rest of creation is that He has breathed into us part of Himself.  That just makes us something different and what He wants to do is, on this spirit, this spirit soul of ours, He wants to leave that impression of His Beloved Son, which will make us more acceptable in His sight one day in eternity and to be able to give to us the realization that even though we are really nothing, that we can become something spiritually, if we will just put ourselves in His hands.


* Estelle is from South Africa and was in Washington for some of the conventions 2013