Right after Whitney Houston’s death on February 11, 2012, I Will Always Love You could be heard on practically every news program. Like most everyone else, I was watching and listening.
Written in 1973 and released as a single in 1974, Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You was a hit. When Whitney sang her version of it in the movie The Bodyguard, it became known as her “signature song.”
When Whitney released her single of I Will Always Love You, it was a success all over the world. Although she had eleven number one hits I Will Always Love You was the longest running.
That song, as well as many other love songs, reveals a deep desire we all have to be loved. We not only want to be loved, we want to know our loved ones will love us forever. Many holidays – Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. – were put in place so that we could express our love for others. Card companies, florists, jewelers and other businesses flourish because people want to say, “I love you,” in a tangible way to their special people.
People who love each other show love in many meaningful ways. Presence makes a bigger statement than presents do. Caring enough to spend time with another is often what the loved one needs most. It is not always possible to be with your loved ones. That’s what makes family reunions so sweet.
Of course, not everyone is so fortunate.
For some always doesn’t mean forever. What felt like always at the beginning of a relationship may degenerate into not any more after the passing of time. The pain that comes from rejection in a relationship is all too well known. News reports are filled with stories of those in the public eye -politicians, movie stars, sports figures, etc. – who have severed relationships. The tabloids make fortunes out of their distorted versions of these stories.
For a Christian, there is no question about the definition of always. It has a stronger meaning than is even possible with a human relationship. For a child of God, always means “everlasting,” literally lasting forever. God’s love never changes. That’s who He is.
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3). He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).