Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Story of My Life from a Psalm 136 Perspective

by Emily Conrad



Psalm 136 has an interesting way of telling a story.

After each tiny installment of the story (we're talking every few words here), the writer interrupts to say, "for his loyal love endures" (as the NET puts it).

At first, I read along nodding.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who performs magnificent, amazing deeds all by himself,
for his loyal love endures
(Psalm 136:3-4, NET)

Amen! I can see how the magnificent deeds God do show his loyal love. His love and his work in Creation, which takes up the opening of the psalm, go hand-in-hand.

But then I kept reading and found the same phrase repeated, even after parts of the story that were harder.

to the one who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his loyal love endures,
and led Israel through its midst,
for his loyal love endures,
and tossed Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who led his people through the wilderness,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who struck down great kings,
for his loyal love endures,
and killed powerful kings,
for his loyal love endures
(Psalm 136:13-18, NET)

Notice he wrote about God leading the way through the wilderness, not that the Israelites wandered for 40 years, which might be a more human perspective. In addition to the repeated reminders that everything God does flows from His love, the psalmist insists on seeing things God's way.


I got to wondering how my life story would go if I applied both of these--God's perspective and God's love--to each beat of my own life story.

This approach forces me to acknowledge that God sees my life differently than I do.

That job I tried for and didn't get was Him freeing me up for other things I didn't know were in store.

The fifteen plus years of work to see one of my novels in print was a time most marked not by my striving or failures but by His provision.

The friendships, the writing rejections, the vacations, the ministry opportunities, the injuries and illnesses--all of it was guided by the hands of a loving God.

And so, the story of my life from a Psalm 136 perspective might go something like this:

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who allowed you to break your wrist
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who used that to lead you away from a day job
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who provided for you through years of waiting
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who caused that rejection,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who brought you to a publisher,
for his loyal love endures.

This tip doesn't just work for the past.

As I was praying about a family member with cancer, I thought to myself, "God, I don't know why that happened." Psalm 136 echoed back with a reply: His loyal love endures.

No, I still don't know the specific why--and I didn't expect to--but as my family and I walk through this, we have the comfort of knowing that the situation is not happening outside of God's love.

Looking back and seeing God's loyal love reassures me. Understanding the present in light of His love bolsters my faith. Filtering the view of the future through His love ignites holy anticipation.

As events unfold, we can rest in the reminder that God's loyal love endures. When we're tempted to worry about the future, we must insist on believing that God's loyal love will shape and guide what's yet to come.

God's loyal love endures.














As events unfold, we can rest in the reminder that God's loyal love endures. #Godislove #psalm via @emilyrconrad


Photo credits:
Sunflower field with woman and sunflower field photos by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash
Sunflower field with man photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash
Edited on Canva.com

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