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Where Love Meets Suffering (“Your Love Never Fails” Song Analysis)

With references from Psalms, Romans, and Hebrews, and a message that fixes our eyes on the love of God, “Your Love Never Fails” is a balm for sufferers. It explores that mysterious yet powerful connection between suffering, hope, and God’s love.

This is the fourth post in our series on worship songs for sufferers.

Biblical themes/lyrical analysis

“Your Love Never Fails” developed around the phrase “You make all things work together for my good” (adapted from Rom. 8:28). In the midst of suffering, it is a great comfort that God is in control and His mercies are new every morning, even when the nights are dark. And amazingly, God weaves those mornings, dark nights, and everything in between together for our good.

Though we may not completely understand what that will mean for each circumstance we face, we know for certain what it doesn’t mean: God is not working things in our lives against us. He has good intentions for us, not bad. And not only does He want these things for us, but He is doing them!

This is a truth we sufferers desperately need to hear. In pain it can feel like God is out to get us, but Scripture tells us that simply isn’t true.

What we know, and what we don’t

We can’t always know how God will work all things for our good, but thankfully, Scripture does tell us why. Romans 8:29, reveals that God’s in all things—even suffering—is that we be conformed to the image of His Son. So in all things, God is working for our good—that we become more like Jesus.

John Piper wonderfully explains this verse. In a world of so many uncertainties, it’s true, there are some things that we do not know. What Piper points out is that in Romans 8 there are things that in fact we do know. God is working for our good. And we can rest in that reality. It is the anchor that holds us through all storms.

Take a minute to read these excerpts from Romans 8 that reveal what we don’t know and what we do know.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words […]. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose […]. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Where love meets suffering

This passage at once assumes suffering and preaches the assurance of God’s love.
“Your Love Never Fails” does the same. Consider this lyric from the chorus:

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
And your love never fails

God’s love doesn’t preclude our suffering. The oceans may rage, but we can have peace in God’s love—an anchor that will not move. The fires may burn, but they cannot consume, for God’s love falls like rain upon our hearts.

Consider these lyrics from the hymn “How Firm a Foundation,” based on Isaiah 43:1–7:

When through the deep waters I call you to go
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow
For I will be with you, your troubles to bless
And sanctify to you your deepest distress
When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie
My grace all-sufficient shall be your supply
The flame shall not hurt you—I only design
Your dross to consume and your gold to refine

Scripture attests often and in strong terms that the suffering of God’s people is not a sign of His disfavor, but a confirmation of His love and work in our lives (see also Psalm 136; Hebrews 13:8; 1 Corinthians 13:8; Romans 5).

Leading “Your Love Never Fails” presents a wonderful opportunity to proclaim this comforting truth.

Musical analysis

Musically the song has three sections—verse, chorus, bridge—which is typical in your average worship song, and the melody fits the lyrics well. Additionally, the chorus uniquely features the 2 chord, which can give the song a modern edge.

However, the song’s rhythm makes it feel to us a bit more fitting for a solo artist than a congregation. We’ve sung it in church before, and it works, but there are places that tend to lose the congregation due to unexpected rhythms. The easiest part of the song to sing is the bridge, “You make all things work together for my good,” as that phrase repeats and the melody is easy, giving the congregation time to latch on.

The vocal range stays within an octave, which seems to be the magic number for singability. Once a song goes outside of an octave, it can at times get too high or too low, and people will either just stop singing or try jumping to an octave they can handle, which can cause them to be distracted from the message of the song itself.

Why lead “Your Love Never Fails”

“Your Love Never Fails” is a wonderful choice for your congregation because it’s full of scriptural truth and offers a hopeful message for sufferers: that our circumstances have no bearing on God’s love for us. In fact, when we comfort others in suffering, the most comforting thing they can hear from us is, “I love you, and God loves you.”

Love assures us we are not alone as we suffer.

In a conversation between Jimi Williams of Worship Together and songwriter Chris McClarney, Williams summarizes the song well:

We can think on the promises of God and let go of our fear and uncertainty […] as we focus on Him […]. To sing this out helps remind us that God is in control.

If you’re looking for a song that encourages sufferers with the love of God, “Your Love Never Fails” is a strong choice.

This is a guest post by music professionals Cody Norris and Stephen Folden. Photo by Martina Misar-Tummeltshammer on Unsplash.

Written by
Matthew Boffey

Matthew Boffey (MDiv, Trinity International University) is the pastor of worship at Christ Church Bellingham. He is also editor-in-chief of Ministry Team magazine, has edited several books, and has written for several blogs and publications, including Relevant online, the Logos blog, and the Faithlife blog.

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Written by Matthew Boffey