His love endures forever

The refrain echoes through Psalm 136: His love endures forever. As I read the Psalm on Friday morning, several hours before I signed a lease, I realized something. In the past, when I’ve read this Psalm, I’ve read the refrain the first few times it appears, and then become lulled into impatient laziness by the repetition and unthinkingly begun to tune the refrain out and focus on the unfolding of the story in the lines in between.
As a writer, I should know the danger of doing that. If an author (at least one who has taken the time to carefully edit) chooses to repeat something, it’s meant to highlight something important. I should have been paying extra attention to that line, hearing that line as the center, and all the other lines as illustration of this key truth experienced in the painfully difficult and wonderfully miraculous bits of the Israelites’ story: God’s love endures forever, always holding his people, providing, protecting, and sustaining them. (As an aside, isn’t it interesting that it’s usually through the most difficult times of life that we also learn most deeply that God’s love endures forever?)
I dare to think there’s an invitation implied, a summons to pay attention to our own lives and continue the song with our own verses as we let this refrain become the grounding certainty of our lives: His love endures forever.
One species of cherry tree behind my old place has just finished blooming, and the other is starting to burst. It feels so kind that God would give me one more spring with this dozen trees that feel like friends before moving me to a new neighbourhood and introducing me to new beauty there.
As I prepare to move into the new home God has provided for me, I look back over these past difficult five months and add a few new verses of my own to the Psalm, giving thanks as I see ways God’s love has held me through this time and is going before me into this new place.
And this time I’m lingering over the refrain.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
            His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
            His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
            His love endures forever. . .
to him who provided an interim home during the months I had none of my own,
            His love endures forever.
who gave two months of free rent in the midst of moving expenses,
            His love endures forever.
who brought friends to help pack and clean and move,
            His love endures forever.
who guided me to a good home, closing dozens of doors along the way,
            His love endures forever.
and taught me that I couldn’t assume I’d be accepted elsewhere so I’d step through the door he finally opened,
            His love endures forever.
who helped me learn what matters to me,
            His love endures forever.
and provided a home that fits who I am,
            His love endures forever.
whispering that my needs and desires are important to him,
            His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered me in my low estate,
            His love endures forever.
and has been freeing me from clinging to security that is not in him,
            His love endures forever.
who gives food and shelter to every creature,
            His love endures forever.
teaching me that it’s safe to trust,
            His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
            His love endures forever.


I won’t be writing next Monday as I’ll be finishing up a course and preparing to move. See you back here in two weeks!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Lesley-Anne Evans

    What a leap in my heart to read your beautiful poetry today, dear writer…and to sit down in a little while, carve out a little space, and write some of my own. All the blessings and peace and joy be yours in your move, and as you discover the unique beauty in store for you in your new surroundings, and what is yet to be unearthed in your own heart. Much love. xo me

  2. marionvg2012

    What especially resonates in my heart from your writing is “freeing me from clinging to security that is not in Him”. Thanks Carolyn, for all your tender thoughts.
    Be blessed in your new home and always,

  3. Sue Braid

    Thank you, Caroline. Your words are a great comfort to me.

  4. Bonita Grace Dirk

    I love your lines and how you are able to see this in the midst of this difficult time. I’m glad that you can soak it in. I think I normally complain about the difficulties I’m in and don’t let the good things soak in.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. momfan

    One of my favorites!

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