It’s no secret that the past year has been brutal. We’ve all been impacted by the trials of this year, sometimes in painful ways. In our isolation and pain, we long to connect with others and find hope, but instead, we often find feelings of anger, distress, and hopelessness. Yet there is hope, even in the midst of a year like this. We have reason to hope because the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. This phrase isn’t just a platitude to make us sound spiritual, it’s a promise that can change our lives.
What Does ‘The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases’ Mean?
We all dream of a steadfast love, don’t we? We long for a love that will endure hard times and grow stronger with age. We want someone to love us, even when we’re unlovable. We want a perfect love, but does that even exist?
This kind of love does exist and it’s found in the Lord. I’ve experienced His incredible love and I know, like the author of Lamentations, that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
The Hebrew word translated here as steadfast has also been translated as mercy, kindness, lovingkindness, and goodness. This word is powerful. The Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon describes it as “zeal towards any one, love, kindness.” Other translations read:
- Certainly the faithful love of the LORD hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! – Common English Bible
- [Because of] the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. – Holman Christian Standard Bible
- It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. – King James Version
- The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. – New American Standard Bible
- Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. – New International Version
To think that the zealous love of the Lord is offered to us free of charge is an incredible thought. The Lord is faithful. He is unchanging in His promises to us even when we are unfaithful to Him. His mercy never stops and it is in that mercy that we find steadfast love.
What Is the Context and Author of Lamentations 3:22?
On the surface, Lamentations 3:22 feels like a happy verse. It’s a verse that fills us with joy and hope for the future. But this verse was written in the midst of dark days. It was birthed out of pain, not joy.
Though we don’t know for sure, most scholars are in agreement that Jeremiah wrote Lamentations after the fall of Jerusalem. It is an acrostic poem of lament or deep mourning. The first half of Lamentations 3 is filled with the author’s memories of affliction.
“I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long” –Lamentations 3:1-3 (ESV).
“I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long. He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood. He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is” –Lamentations 3:14-17.
The first half of this chapter is filled with pain and darkness. It seems the author has lost all hope. Have you been there? Have you experienced trials so dark that you didn’t think there was any way out? I have, and it’s a comfort to me to read the words of Jeremiah and know that others have felt the same.
In the midst of lament comes a turning point.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in him’” –Lamentations 3:21-24.
The poem continues with remembrances of God’s mercy and a call to the people of Jerusalem to turn back to the Lord.
So what changed? Jeremiah’s circumstances didn’t change. The darkness still surrounded him. Happiness was such a distant experience he didn’t even remember what it was. The turning point comes when Jeremiah remembers the steadfast love of the Lord and has reason to hope again. He remembers that God is faithful and that’s enough.
When we remember God’s deep and steadfast love for us, His kindness and mercy, we too can hope in Him. His mercies are new every morning and they’re for us too!
3 Ways the Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases for Us
It’s an Abiding Love
The love of the Lord is not just a promise for someday, it’s a promise for today. In John 15:9 Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” To abide means to tarry or linger, to continue to be present, to be held, to endure. The love of the Lord is offered to us for the very moment we’re in, especially those hard moments.
When I think of what it means to abide in God’s love, I think of swimming in an ocean so vast I can’t see where it begins or where it ends. I think of traveling to a dream location where everything is so beautiful, I never want to leave. I think of an intimacy with my Maker that’s so close I can’t tell where I end, and He begins. I think of a love that endures the tragedies of life while offering hope for the future. That’s the kind of love I want to abide in and that’s the kind of love the Lord offers us every day.
It’s an Endless Love
Nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus. Romans 8:34-35 tells us, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”
I’m going to say it again, nothing can separate us from the love of our Lord. His mercies are new every morning and His love for us is great. Many times, I have faced deep trials and I didn’t know how I would endure another day. Yet when morning came, the Lord’s love was enough for that day too. No matter how long our trials last, the Lord’s love never runs out.
It’s a Forever Love
If we read just a little further in Romans, we come to Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I love these verses. They tell me that not only is the Lord’s love an endless supply, it’s forever. It’s for today and all of our tomorrows.
When we put our faith in the Lord, nothing in life can separate us from His love. Death can’t even separate us from His love! These verses are powerful for me today. You see, my grandma passed away just a couple of weeks ago. While I was writing this article, my family received the call that after almost a month in the ICU a dear family friend is now with Jesus. The pain of death is excruciating. The pain of life without our loved ones is heartbreaking. Yet the love of the Lord is steadfast and true, even in our pain.
Whatever trials we face in life, we can be assured that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. This promise can change our lives if we let it. We do that by accepting the Lord’s love. His abiding love holds us fast, His endless love refreshes us each day, and we can count on His forever love for all eternity. When life knocks us down, He is for us. When trials come, He can help us through them. When tragedy strikes, the Lord will help us endure because the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
A Prayer for Steadfast Love
Lord, I thank you for your steadfast love, for your mercy toward us that is renewed for us each morning, no matter the sins of yesterday. Thank you for choosing to love me more than I could ever love myself. I praise you for your goodness and faithfulness towards me. Even when I don’t deserve it, you show your kindness towards me relentlessly.
Lord, forgive me for yesterday’s sins and shortcomings. I grieve over anything I have done that makes a mockery of your merciful love. I give myself completely over to you. Lord, I ask that you show me when I’m operating out of shame and guilt. I ask that you forgive me for the times I’ve rejected your mercy towards me and have chosen to walk in shame. I receive your new mercies over my life right now.
Thank you, God, that I can walk forward today confident in your love for me. I am free from the bondage and stain of sin! Thank you love for your steadfast love that never ceases and for your mercies that never come to an end.