I recently drove across the country and I don’t know if I could have done it without listening to music. I could turn on the radio and escape the fact that I had to sit alone in my car for 40 hours. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to fall into a meditative state of head-bobbing-and-steering-wheel-drumming to songs that you have never even heard before.
Somewhere between Missouri and New Mexico, I was deep into one of these jam sessions when the song “Forever Until Tomorrow” by MKTO (musical duo consisting of Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller) came on the station. As soon as I heard the song, I stopped jamming and started thinking because I was really confused by the first lines of the song:
“Girl I, I’m gonna love you,
Forever and ever and ever.
Girl I, I’m gonna hold you,
Forever and ever and ever…
(Side Note: never be afraid to stop the jam session and start thinking!!)
YOU WERE MADE FOR LOVE
Now before getting into the confusing part of this song, I want to affirm that it does skim the surface of something really beautiful:
Essentially, we were made to be loved and held forever. Because of that we have a desire in our hearts to be loved and to be held.
“From his conception, the human person is destined for eternal beatitude” (CCC 1703). Eternal beatitude is when we will finally rest with God the Father (Hebrews 4:10ff) and He will love us and hold us forever.
So if you’re a girl and you’ve ever dreamt that Mr. Right would serenade you outside of your window singing, “Girl, I’m gonna love you and hold you forever,” then good! You should desire that because you were made to be loved like that!
For those of us called to married life we will have a spouse to love and to hold for all of our time before we die. But all of us, regardless of what we are called to here on earth, are made to be loved and held by Our Father in Heaven forever.
DON’T GIVE UP ON LOVE
So while admitting that MKTO scratches the surface of something beautiful, doesn’t anything in the lyrics or even just the title of the song strike you as weird? It does to me. Here’s my question: Since when did forever mean anything besides forever?
My point is that “forever until tomorrow” doesn’t mean forever. In fact, it simply means “until tomorrow.”
FOREVER = FOREVER
TOMORROW = TOMORROW
FOREVER ≠ TOMORROW
I wish I could apologize to the girl that this song was written to. I am sorry that a man has misled her into making her think he loved her. I am sorry that she hasn’t been given a correct answer to what she is longing for. But for her, and for every other girl, I want to say, DO NOT GIVE UP!
Because “heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings,“ (CCC 1024) nothing in this world will ever fully satisfy the longing we have to be loved forever. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t experience satisfaction and should give up.
Yes, it is hard to find someone that will truly love you and hold you forever in this life. But just because lots of people, MKTO included, have given up on finding it, doesn’t mean it is impossible. Just because something is difficult that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. In fact, in this case, it means we should!
Like I said to the girls who desire to be serenaded and loved forever – you were made to be loved and deserve to be loved like that! So don’t settle for anything less.
Trust in your Heavenly Father that not only will He hold you in His arms for eternity, but He also desires to provide for you and comfort you right here and right now.
REAL MEN ARE LOVERS
Now men, just as the women in your life shouldn’t be settling for anything less than a “forever love,” you shouldn’t be offering them anything less.
Look at one more part of this song:
“Why not tell you you’re the one today?
Who knows what I’m gonna feel tomorrow?”
Malcolm and Tony are right – they don’t know what they are going to feel tomorrow. None of us do. But what they’re missing is that love is forever. It is not a day-to-day thing and it is not just a feeling. Love is a choice. Loving is choosing the good of the beloved day after day, forever. So if you are going to tell someone that they are “the one” today, you have to mean, “You are the one forever. I love you regardless of how I feel tomorrow.”
Now maybe you’re not sold on this whole “choosing to love” thing. As a guy, I can totally understand why you might question it and ask, “how do I choose to love someone?” That’s actually a really good question to ask. But where are you going to look for an answer to that question? On tv? On the radio? On the internet?
Well, if you want to know what it looks like to perfectly choose to love someone forever, look at the Cross.
Seriously, look at Jesus on the cross. Think about it for a minute. Jesus could have avoided the cross and done something more physically pleasurable that day, but he didn’t. He freely chose to give of himself for love of his children (us) for all of eternity. This choice was not based on a pleasurable feeling or a fleeting idea. On the contrary, this choice was made in the face of excruciating pain and ultimately death. So why did he choose it?
Because that’s what love is – self-giving, sacrificial, and eternal.
The greatest example of love this world will ever see is Jesus with his arms stretched wide, pouring himself out “not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17).
THE BITTERSWEET TRUTH
The truth is, love requires us to die in some way. This scares a lot of people so they run from it and unsuccessfully try to fulfill their desire for true love with something else. But we are beautifully designed to love one another as Christ sacrifices himself for us on the cross. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12-13). While most of us will not be called to physically lay down our lives for those we love, we do have to make sacrifices. We do have to die to our pride, counting ourselves no better than others. (Philippians 2:3)
Yes, it can be intimidating, but don’t be afraid to try and love. Don’t run away from it because it seems hard! No one should expect you to love perfectly right away and the only way to learn is by keeping your eyes focused on the correct examples and trying!! (Hebrews 12:1)
I am not perfect but I look to Jesus’ example, I ask for his grace and the Holy Spirit, and I strive to love the women in my life more perfectly every day. Men and women, join me in this journey! Join me in this striving! Look for love in Scripture and in Jesus!
Jesus, I pray that you would heal the romantic wounds of the world and all of your children. I pray that we could all come to know and experience the fullness of the love you have made us for. Holy Spirit, come and stir in the places of our hearts that are deeply longing. Direct our desires towards the Love that will fulfill us forever. Guide us. Breathe in us. Amen.