Sometimes we really need things hammered into our brains, don’t we? In Psalm 136, the phrase “His steadfast love endures forever” occurs 26 times. It’s repeated every other line in every single verse. Repetition beating like a thundering drum tapping out a message of stability, hope, and assurance. Forceful and tangible, it’s a phrase to grab hold of.
The Psalm reaches back in time and reminds the reader that the same God who made the heavens and earth, the God who parted the Red Sea, the God who made kings and struck them down– His steadfast love endures forever. It covers the past like a blanket, the threads weaving in and out of our experiences creating a tapestry that He does not want us to miss. Forever means past, present, and future–His steadfast love covers it all. It’s an integral part of each of our stories.
And it begins and ends with giving thanks. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever, (Psalm 136:1). Can we give thanks for the hard times? It’s so easy to thank God for beauty, love, and goodness. And we should. It’s healthy to train our minds to find those things in the mess of all that’s negative. The more we look for goodness, the easier it becomes to see that we are actually surrounded by it.
But those hard times, the brokenness, sometimes you just can’t find a speck of goodness or light anywhere. And that’s ok. The drumbeat of this Psalm is that no matter what, His love is present. It endures and stretches to cover the past, present, and future. The gift in the darkest times is simply love. Love that reaches back, stretches forward, and sits right in the midst of it. Never wavering. This is the kind of love that heals. We can rest knowing that kind of love surrounds us even when we don’t realize it. And we get to hope.
Because time never healed any wounds without steadfast love.