I came across an online article entitled “3 ways to harness positive psychology for a more resilient you.” This was the first way: “Expressing gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have – from a roof over your head to good health to people who care about you. When you acknowledge the goodness in your life, you begin to recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside yourself. In this way, gratitude helps you connect to something larger than your individual experience – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
This pop psychology is not wrong. However, Christianity can give a “name” to that goodness outside ourselves better than any other worldview.
Psalm 118 contains a refrain, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” The Hebrew word translated “love” is hesed. Hesed is the covenant love of God that means God will remain faithful to his people no matter what.
Think for a moment about the most difficult situation you have found yourself. Now, think about the supreme demonstration of God’s faithful love: the cross of Christ. He bore that cross for you. Those nails he endured for you. Though we pushed a thorny crown upon his head, though we held the mallet that drove the nails, his love for you and me held him there. No matter how hugely painful life may become for you, you will always be able to look at the cross and say, “at least I have that; no one can take God’s love away from me.” God’s love for you never wavers, will never be extinguished, will always be there. He has covenanted to love you no matter what.
We do not know who wrote Psalm 118. Our best guess is an unnamed Davidic king who was in a seemingly hopeless military situation. In verse 5, he says, “From the straits I called to the LORD. The LORD answered me in a wide-open space.” (my translation) He was hemmed in, trapped between a rock and a hard place. There seemed to be no place to go. But, God, in his faithful love, answered his plea.
Whatever your situation may be, cling to this exhortation, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever!”