Franciscan Spirit Blog

Seven Days with the Psalms: Love Unfailing

One thing I can tell you is that a paperback from college can save your life. A worthless—money-wise—book with a spine of glue so old it’s hard and cracked can become a precious pearl. And this is what happened to me.

I began by seeking out the famous quote of love and in my one-handed clumsiness my Bible fell, and it too broke, and permanently opened right to Book 1 of the Psalms. Psalm 23, to be exact. I decided to read it out loud and could hardly see the verses through my tears as my voice wavered. He makes me lie down in green pastures. How exhausted I was, how alone and in need of care, suffering each night with pain-induced insomnia. Even though I walk through a valley dark as death. I was terrified of my cancer returning. Dwell in the house of the Lord. I could no longer afford our home, so where would I go? Did I already have a place of shelter with God?

When the closing sentence used the words love unfailing, something shifted in me. I’d never considered God’s love as abiding. Lasting. Unshakeable. Though I was still unable to admit that my marriage was lost, my eyes were drawn to this new pairing of words. My concentration skills were weak.\

I began reading through the pages in wild, random order. Psalm 140, then 91, back to 6, skipping to 144, thumbing backward and forward, from the bottom of the pages to the top. Love unfailing kept popping out, sometimes reversed as unfailing love. I was in over my head, in the pain of my own life, and I knew it. My once-solid world was now—to use psalm imagery—swept away in a flood. But there was something about these poems penned over 2,500 years ago, confidently trusting in the embankment of this enduring love, that kept me from going under.

Wisdom from the Psalms

The psalms overflow with lines and repeated words that nourish us: unfailing love, steadfast, refuge. Solace can be found in so many words. Such as…

“Blessed be the Lord who worked a miracle of unfailing love for me” (Ps 31:21).

Today, find a quiet spot and spend time with the psalms. With a pencil or sticky notes, freely mark words or lines that speak to you.

What Was Lost | Franciscan Media

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