By the end of Psalm 30, David has made a difficult vow. God has pulled him to safety and turned his tear fest into a dancing festival. Rescued, David composes a song to express his gratitude. With his gratitude comes a promise: “My whole being might sing praises to you and never stop. Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever” (ceb).
Does David really use the words never and forever? What absolute words with lofty goals! David is not saying that he will literally sing “hallelujah” in his sleep until the day he dies. Perhaps he is trying to find words that give voice to his gratitude. It is hard to express in words, and “forever” is the best we can do in the limitations of language and song.
Forever is a long time. Forever encompasses everything—both the good and the bad. We use the word so often that we forget its weightiness. A newly married couple vows fidelity to each other forever. Someone does us a favor, and we say that we’re indebted to her forever. A company meeting drags on for hours, and we whisper to a colleague that we’ve been in that room forever. God heals a loved one or answers our prayer, and we promise to serve God forever.
Forever does not constitute a flippant promise. It is a commitment to praise God even when we don’t know what to say. Forever calls us to look back on the times that God “took off [our] funeral clothes and dressed [us] up in joy” (ceb). When we vow our forever to God, we see that in Christ Jesus God gives us forever too.
Today I will give thanks for God’s presence in my life. Tomorrow, I will give thanks again. The day after tomorrow, I will give thanks yet again. . . .