Last week I read with heartbreak about a well-known singer who had taken his own life. As I read the statement from his grieving family, I prayed for his wife and children who are struggling to make sense of the death of their beloved husband and father. I was reminded of a time many years ago that inspired the lyrics for a song I wrote entitled “Undying Love.”
It was nearly summer when I received a call from my brother informing me that our father was diagnosed with a Mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer caused by his exposure to asbestos as a pipefitter decades earlier. Treatment options were not promising, and Dad’s prognosis was not good. My Dad loved life, but more importantly, he loved God and his family. In retrospect, I’m convinced that early on in his diagnosis Dad decided to make the last months of his life count for God and the people he loved. And he did. I have cherished memories of dad walking down the aisle at the wedding of one of his grandchildren. I also recall Dad spending time imparting wisdom to all his children and grandchildren, as well as planning for the wellbeing of my mother and his family. Dad made a choice to live and persevere with undying love until the day God called him home.
That same week I also received a call that an old friend had taken his own life after struggling with depression, family problem, and other hardships. I remember wishing my friend could have talked with my Dad, who would have encouraged him that life is worth living, even when things seem bleak and hopeless. Dad would have told him that there is no problem too big, no life too far gone that God can’t fix and bring a new beginning. Dad would have helped him connect the dots between his problems and God’s faithful solutions.
A few days later the words to the song “Undying Love” came to me like a flood. It was as if God wanted me to tell someone who was standing on the precipice that there is hope beyond our human hopelessness, and life beyond our darkness if only we turn to God and experience His undying love.
The song started, “I can tell you that there is a reason that we are all here— Oh, it’s not for nothing that we are alive…”
Hope sprung out of my heart as I continued to write. Within an hour the song was finished as the words were attached to a melody that I had written years earlier. It was as if God had been preparing the song all that time and was waiting for the right moment for it to come together. Later I had the privilege of recording it with some outstanding musicians in Nashville. Here are the lyrics:
I can tell you that there is a reason that we are all here—
Oh, it’s not for nothing that we are alive.
For in each one of us deep inside is an empty space
That can only be filled by the piece called love.
I can tell you’ve been hardened by running the human race
Where so much is promised, but nothing received
But it’s more than a promise that God will deliver to you—
Undying love, if you only believe.
Care enough to understand, care enough to take God’s hand
Care enough to see undying love
And if you care enough to see
You’ll care enough to try to be
A person who will pay the price of love—
I can tell you that this is the reason that God came down
He lived and paid the price with his arms unfurled
He is love, and in love, He laid down His life for us
Undying love saves a dying world. (Chorus)
I can tell you it’s hard to live in this empty world
Where’s it’s each for themselves, and no one cares
And I know sometimes life throws so much at you
But you’ve got to believe
Undying love will see you through. (Chorus)
Ending: I can tell you that there is a reason that we are all here.
Undying Love © 2001 Christopher Atkins. All rights reserved.
Two weeks before Dad died I sat next to his bedside. He looked sad, and I asked him how he was doing. He said, “I don’t understand why God hasn’t taken me home yet”.
Instantly I replied, “Perhaps God has one more jewel to give you here before He calls you home”. To this day I believe those words came from God. A few nights later a group of guys from our church came to visit Dad and sat by his bedside. Stories were told, songs were sung, scriptures were shared, prayers were prayed, hugs were given, laughter rose up, a few tears were shed, and subtle “goodbyes for now” were given. Dad was alert and clearly loved every moment with these men. It was the jewel God had promised him. A little over a week later Dad was welcomed into God’s eternal presence, having crossed the finish line in victory.
I don’t pretend to know the answers to whatever you or someone you know might be going through today. However, I pray that you will experience the truth of this verse, penned by the Apostle Paul whose life was a disaster until he experienced Jesus:
“May God give peace to you, my friends, and love, with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ” Ephesians 6:23-24
The secret to enduring through dark times begins with asking God in prayer to help you experience His undying Love in the person of Jesus Christ. God can rescue you, but it may take some time, so don’t give up on life as you look to Him.
God still has more jewels to give you!
God bless you!