IMMORTAL LOVE–FOREVER FULL
John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807–1892
To know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)
Love is Silence—when your words would hurt.
Love is Patience—when your neighbor’s curt.
Love is Deafness—when a scandal flows.
Love is Thoughtfulness—for others’ woes.
Love is Promptness—when stern duty calls.
Love is Courage—when misfortune falls.
The Bible teaches that the three cardinal virtues of the Christian life are faith, hope, love, with love as the greatest (1 Corinthians 13:13). These virtues in a person’s life are the most convincing evidences of a personal relationship with Christ. True faith must always lead to a life of love for God and others. It also gives purpose for this life and the glorious hope of spending eternity with our King of Love. Our love relationship with others should be characterized as sacrificial, sensitive, and sharing. We should relate to people even as Jesus did. He loved individuals simply for themselves and met and accepted them at the place of their personal need.
In 1867 John Greenleaf Whittier, a Quaker and recognized as one of America’s finest poets, wrote a 38 stanza poem titled “Our Master.” This hymn text with its emphasis upon the constancy of God’s immortal love was taken from that poem. It was Whittier who once stated “a good hymn is the best use to which poetry can be directed.” The musical setting by William V. Wallace, a Scottish violinist and composer, was adapted from a longer love song, “Waft, Ye Winds,” written by Wallace in 1856.
Immortal Love—forever full, forever flowing free, forever shared, forever whole, a never ebbing sea!
We may not climb the heav’nly steeps to bring the Lord Christ down; in vain we search the lowest deeps, for Him no depths can drown.
But warm, sweet, tender, even yet a present help is He; and faith has still its Olivet, and love its Galilee.
The healing of His seamless dress is by our beads of pain; we touch Him in life’s throng and press, and we are whole again.
Thru Him the first fond prayers are said our lips of childhood frame; the last low whispers of our dead are burdened with His name.
O Lord and Master of us all, whate’er our name or sign, we own Thy sway, we hear Thy call, we test our lives by Thine!
For Today: Psalm 139; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:38, 39; 1 John 4:19
Reflect on the constancy of our Lord’s immortal love as you meditate on this thoughtful hymn text.
Osbeck, K. W.
- O Lord, thou hast tried me, and known me. Thou knowest my sitting and my rising: thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my paths, and my lying down, and art accustomed to all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, thou knowest it wholy, O Lord. Thou holdest me strait behind and before, and layest thine hand upon me. Thy knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is so high that I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if I lie down in hell, thou art there. Let me take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: Yet thither shall thine hand lead me, and thy right hand hold me. If I say, Yet the darkness shall hide me, even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee: but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and light are both alike. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mothers’s womb. I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wondrously made: marvelous are thy works, and my soul knoweth it well. My bones are not hid from thee, though I was made ina secret place, and fashioned beneath in the earth. Thine eyes did see me, when I was without form: for in thy book were all things written, which in continuance were fashioned, when there was none of them before. How dear therefore are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. h that thou wouldest [say], O God, the wicked and bloody men to whom I say, Depart ye from me: Which speak wickedly of thee, and being thine enemeis are lifted up in vain. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and do not I earnestly contend with those that rise up against thee? I hated them with an unfeigned hatred, as they were mine utter enemies. Try me, O God, and know mine heart: prove me and know my thoughts, And consider if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way forever. Psalm 139
- The Lord hath appeared unto me of old, say they: Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with mercy I have drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3
- For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
- We love him, because he loved me first. 1 John 4:19