“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever…” This morning I was listening to a message by Pete Briscoe, and he read this verse from Psalm 118. He purposefully misread it saying, “His love endures a really long time…” to make the point that God’s love cannot be measured by our time system. Then he said, “in Hebrew that word translated ‘forever’, means….FOREVER!” Yes, it is a concept impossible for our finite minds to grasp. He went on to talk about the hope that is packed into that one word. We don’t have to be fearful that one day God’s love will run out.

What struck me is how often that word has felt like a nail in the coffin of my dreams. My husband is a felon FOREVER. He will be on the sex offender registry FOREVER. His probation is FOREVER. His restrictions are FOREVER. People have asked us before when we share the restrictions Joel lives under, “Well, how long is his probation? It will eventually end, won’t it?” But the paperwork from his sentencing says it’s a lifetime sentence.

And therein lies the difference! This word, FOREVER, was not designed for our world. It is not synonymous with lifetime. Actually, it has no meaning within the bonds of time. It really can only be used for what exists outside of time–God, His plan, His people, His Word. So when I mentally and erroneously apply it to temporal situations, I’m being caught in a lie that leads to hopelessness. The hammer pounding that nail is relentless. And my grief is real. But the coffin is only nailed tightly shut in this lifetime.  As Paul so aptly said, “If we only have hope in this life, we are of ALL people to be MOST PITIED.” If my hope is only lifetime hope, then all the dreams ripped from me and all the “lifetime” realities I endure, do put me in a place to be most pitied. However, my hope isn’t in lifetime. My hope is in FOREVER. That means I have a dream, a hope, an expectation that goes beyond any lifetime restriction. God’s love reaches far beyond this world. And that is where my hope lies.

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