I would apologize for my long absence from writing on this blog, but in all honestly I’m not really sorry. I have been putting all my energy into getting hot dinners on the table, keeping school uniforms clean, corralling the crayons, surviving a thousand winter illnesses (isn’t that always what happens the first year of living anywhere?), and working on a bigger writing project. But here I am, back again, with some thoughts from Psalm 136.
Psalm 136 is a song of gratitude to God for His mercy. The Psalm opens with “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.” The last line (for His mercy endures forever) ends every verse in the Psalm. The writing walks through the history of creation, through the deliverance from Egypt, through the victories against the Amorites, and through God’s direction in leading the Israelites to their new home. This was written as a song that the people of God could sing in worship and it acted as a reminder for all the the Lord had done for His people in protecting and guiding them.
One of the common enemies of Christians is fear, anxiety, and worry. This isn’t a new struggle. When God’s people first came to the promise land, the spies (with the exception of Caleb and Joshua) were too afraid to pursue the promise because the people dwelling in that land were strong and terrifying. We still struggle with this. We are afraid of financial devastation, of illness, of terrorism, of death. It cripples us. We are even too afraid of what others think of us. We worry about the present and the future. We worry about the past and psychologically our culture is infatuated with defining people by their past trauma.
This is where Psalm 136 comes as a glorious example to us of how to break free from the sin of fear. We have to remember. The Psalmist remembers all that God has done and writes a song so others can remember too. When we look back on our story with eyes of gratitude, scanning our chapters for moments of His mercy, we are reminded of how good He has been. What if you wrote the story of your life like the Psalm 136?
I was born into a Christian family, with my whole body functioning perfectly, for His mercy endures forever.
I was given nourishing food, education, and siblings to be my friends, for His mercy endures forever.
I was given a spouse to sharpen me and love me and care for me, for His mercy endures forever.
My body was sustained through pregnancies and c-sections, for His mercy endures forever.
I could go on and on. He has shown mercy to me in a thousand ways. When we remember all these mercies, the big ones and the little ones, it gives us the faith to have courage in the future. Remembering His mercy is the arrow that pierces fear. Remembering is our shield to face the future with the assurance of His protection. Remembering His mercy is the lens to look at the past without regret or bitterness. Cling to the good things He has already done and you will find faith that He will be good on every day in the future.