"But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, . . ."
A verse just in time, if ever there was one! (See how He is already being considerate of my frame and my dust.) After the doldrums of flowers gone with the wind, and houses that remember us not, He lifts our sights to that which is the deepest cry of our heart---something that lasts. "He has put eternity into man's heart" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). I got a letter from an inmate who described the struggle preceding his conversion: "I never found true happiness---no not in many different drugs, drinks, sex; nothing could stay long enough."
That's the trouble. If only something stayed. I would settle for even lesser things---a happy marriage, a great body, a satisfying job---if only they stayed. But the impermanence of everything under the sun conspires to bring us kicking and screaming to Permanence Himself. "All that I desire is in you." A favorite Scripture:
"One thing I have asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple" (Psalm 27:4).
That has already begun in my life. And physical death will be only a transition place to more dwelling with him, gazing on him, inquiring of him.
Let me linger on the word "steadfast," as on a fine wine. "Steadfast": "firmly fixed in place: immovable; not subject to change" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary). Who has ever known that kind of thing here? The best of us is so iffy. If you want to see steadfast, do yourself a favor and rent the film The Kite Runner. But that was a movie, right? I remember an old interview with Michael Landon, who played the world's best father and husband in the 1970s television series Little House on the Prairie. He commented to the interviewer that he wished he could be the man in real life that he was in that series.
I have sometimes mischievously entertained the theory that I could lose any of my friendships, even those of decades' duration, in an instant, with about three or four choice words. I hope I am wrong.
But while everyone on earth has a limit, and most limits are short, I need to hail my friend Kyung. She invited me out to a Japanese restaurant, and on the appointed day I forgot to come. She called me from the rendezvous place and I apologized, and we rescheduled---same restaurant. This time I jotted it on my calendar. (But I have often learned that writing appointments on calendars only works if you consult the calendar daily.) You have guessed the rest already. I was a no-show for sushi again. Again Kyung called me, all dressed up and sitting alone at the restaurant. Again I apologized, this time more profusely.
At this point a normal person would have ended the friendship, right? And would have had good cause, too: This "friend" of mine obviously does not really care about me, she would have said. Know what Kyung did? She decided that we had better forget the Japanese place and just eat at her house.
That's the millionth part of God's steadfast love for me.
To read "Verse 18," click here.
To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.