“His love endures forever.” Psalm 136
The first two psalms in evening prayer from the Liturgy of the hours today repeat this line after every sentence. They recount salvation history. The good and the bad things that happened. While repeating the mantra that His love endures forever.
Over the last couple days, I’ve been reminded that God is with us through the good and the bad times. Sometimes we like to imagine that He abandons us when things get tough. In reality, He’s with us just as much then as in the good times. He’s with us in the big things, like babies being born and important life decisions, but He’s also with us in the little things, like when we’re hanging out with our friends or when we witness a beautiful sunset. He’s constantly reminding us that He’s with us too.
Lately, I’ve been really noticing sunsets. There is just something so beautiful and awe inspiring to me about sunsets. Each one is different but all of them are amazing. Every time I notice a beautiful sunset I immediately take a moment to thank the Lord for it. I’ve been struggling recently with connecting with God. I’ve really been feeling abandoned. No matter how much I believe what I wrote in the beginning of this post, it doesn’t change the fact that right now I feel alone in my mess. One thing is still true though, His love endures forever. Just like I know for a fact that every night the sun will set, I also know that His love endures.
This love calls me to more than just recognizing it though. Just yesterday at Mass we heard from St. Paul about Christ’s love.
The love of Christ impels us,
once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised. -2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Because we know that God loves us, loves us so much to gave His only son to die for our sins, we are impelled to live for Him. We are driven to live for Christ. Once we understand that His love endures forever, we can no longer live for ourselves. We must live for Him who died for us. But what does this mean? I’ve heard plenty a person state this. And I actually heard an entire homily given yesterday on it. But what does living for Christ look like practically? I’m honestly not sure. I’ve been reflecting on it for the last 24 hours since I heard that homily yesterday and I’m just not sure.
I know that I want to live for Christ alone. But how do I do that now? How do I live for Christ when I work two part time jobs and barely have time to think let alone stay committed to a prayer routine? How do I live for Christ when I’m worried about how I’m going to pay my bills and see my family and friends? How do I live for Christ when things are hard and I feel abandoned?
At one point in my life, I thought I had figured things out, I thought I was at a really good place in my relationship with God. I thought I had fallen in love completely and irrevocably. But when things got really difficult and I didn’t know what the plan was anymore I lost that “great” relationship. The thing is, how great was the relationship if I lost it when things got really tough? Well, I’m learning now what it means to have a relationship – a real and true relationship – where even when things get tough you both stick around to work it out. I bring this up because living for Christ isn’t just about going to Mass on Sundays or praying each day. It’s about that relationship. It’s about falling in love irrevocably and allowing yourself to be changed by that love.
I think living for Christ means living with hope even when the world says there is no reason to hope. Living for Christ means being joyful in suffering because you know there is a meaning and purpose for it. Living for Christ means not thinking of yourself first, but of others. Living for Christ means that no matter what, you can’t give up because He didn’t.
Christ could have saved us without enduring the suffering of the cross. He could have hung from the cross and called the angels down to rescue Him instead of dying. Christ lived a fully human life, even through death, so that He could show us how to live, so that He could show us how much His love endures forever. He loves us to the end so we must also love Him.
Each day I wake up I struggle to get out of bed, but by the grace of God I am able to get up and face each day head on. Living for Christ means falling in love with Him and letting that love motivate every moment of every day, even that first moment when your alarm goes off and you’d rather hit snooze than face the day. It means in those little moments, you recognize that God is there and you welcome Him into your life.
I am working each day to welcome Him in, to open my heart instead of close it off. I long so much to live for Christ, to truly give Him my all. That desire is what keeps me going. By the grace of God, I will not give up, because He didn’t give up.