I Will Always Love You

How long can love last? Dreamy-eyed couples declare everlasting love for each other. “Jim + Sue 4-Ever!” We reach for the ultimate expression of affection, commitment, and faithfulness. “My love for you will never die. I will never stop loving you. I am so in love with you, I will love you forever. No matter what happens in life, I will always love you.”

Can love last forever? Are professions of undying love just romantic patter? Maybe we really mean, “I will love you as long as I live.” Who can say what human relationships will be like after we die? I know I want to love my wife forever.

On one of our anniversaries Faith and I spent a long weekend at a beachside hotel. One evening we went for a swim in the freshwater pool where a DJ played tunes while vacationers enjoyed the ocean breeze. I made an excuse to slip away for a minute and requested a song. A few minutes later, Whitney Houston’s velvet voice carried my declaration of love to the whole crowd, and the tween girls in the pool crooned with her on the refrain, “i-I-i-I-iiiii will always love youuuuuu.” In my naivete of worldly ways, I knew the chorus and thought of it as a beautiful love song. As we heard the lyrics, we realized she’s singing about leaving the guy! We’ve laughed about it ever since, but I still like to sign cards, “Always loving you.”

We’ve had many adventures together, including touring Israel. We were there the year of our 30th anniversary and our group was introduced to a seller of memento jewelry. We purchased a new set of wedding bands and ordered engraving. Faith trusted me to choose the inscription, and my mind went to a verse of scripture:

But the steadfast love of the Lord 
is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him . . .

Psalm 103:17

The Hebrew words for “everlasting steadfast love” are engraved on our rings. (Hebrew is the original language of the Old Testament and the language of ancient Israel.)

At weddings the officiating pastor often describes the wedding rings as “an ever-present reminder of the covenant of marriage and your love for one another.” Our specially-engraved rings remind us of God’s love for us that is the model of steadfast love we have for one another. It is the kind of love that puts the other first, that remains true through trials and pain, and that forgives. God showed His love for us, while we were sinners, by giving His only Son to die in our place so we might be forgiven and be with Him forever. His love is the only love that is truly undying and everlasting. We hope our love for each other is growing to be like His. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. He loves us with an everlasting love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Faith. And, well, you know . . . 😍.

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