“I will never take back my love,” is a message from God in Psalm 89. The words struck me as I was praying the Office of Readings. They are appropriate for Valentine’s Day and for reflection during Lent.
I need to give their context. In Psalm 89, God is speaking to his people, the Israelites, and the specific reference is to King David and his dynasty. “I will never take back my love from David and his people, even if they violate my laws and my covenant with them.”
By way of extension, I applied it to myself. “Jeremy, I will never take back my love for you.” That was a mantra for me. Maybe it speaks to your heart. To apply the words of the psalm to yourself is not misusing Scripture or wishful thinking. God’s unfailing love for us is pervasive in Scripture. In Chapter 31 of Jeremiah, God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” (New Jerusalem translation).
“God is love,” the Letter of John declares. The Trinity is one “dynamic circle” of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit loving and receiving love from one another. God, who is love, created the universe and created us to share goodness and love. God created each of us in union with our parents and sustains us hour by hour by his love. God loves us now and invites us to an eternity of love.
What about sin—David’s and ours? Does our sin stop God’s love? Doesn’t God punish us? Psalm 89 says, “I shall punish their [David’s sons] offenses with the rod, their guilt with the whip, but I shall never withdraw from him my faithful love” (NJ 31,32). As a loving parent, God may punish us to help us shun evil and choose good, but never withdraws his love from us. Even if I opt out by serious sin, God keeps loving me. We punish ourselves when we realize how foolish we were in refusing God’s love. Our conscience makes us miserable until we, once more, open our hearts to God’s mercy. Sometimes our sinful action brings its own punishment.
God’s promise,“I will never take back my love,” was captured in a popular song, “I’ll Never Stop Loving You.” It was composed for the 1955 film Love Me or Leave Me. It was recorded by Doris Day, Andy Williams, and others. “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” can describe married love and friendship, as well as God’s love.
Can you think of anything more wonderful?