One of my favorite music groups (Pentatonix) just released their cover of a song called "Say Something". The song is akin to perfection; sad, haunting, beautiful. The lyrics are vague but emotive. The melody is simple but memorable. You can't listen to it and not feel, even if you're not exactly sure what it is you're feeling. It's about someone who is leaving even though they don't really want to. Who hasn't been through that in one way or another?
For some reason, upon my most recent listen, as I got to this part: "I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you", my mind echoed back to me the refrain from my two-year-old son's Bible: "a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love." It's from the Jesus Storybook Bible, one that reveals Jesus in the whole of Scriptures, from the Creation to the Fall to David and Goliath to Jonah and Ezra. Over and over again, it describes how these stories aren't meant to inspire us to be brave or to obey God or to follow the rules. These stories are meant to reveal Jesus, to show us how in every way, God has been moving the course of history toward the salvation we have in Christ, with a love that never stops, never gives up, never breaks, never ends.
The love in the song? It seems to try, but it fails. It reaches out, but it loses grip. It lays itself down, but isn't enough to hold itself up. Over and over again, the singer pleads, "Say something. Say something, anything." Just one word would have been enough, but instead? Silence. So she gives up. She walks away. She lets go. "I'm giving up on you... You're the one that I love, and I'm saying goodbye."
I think in many of our minds, the voice in this song could easily be God's. "I love you, and if you would just say something, I would stay." What does He want us to say? Say that you're sorry. Say that you love me. Say that you need me. Say that I'm incredible and awesome. Say that you're afraid of me. Say that you can't live without me. Say that I am everything and that you are nothing. Say something, anything, it almost doesn't even matter what. "You didn't come through for me, and now I'm leaving, turning my back. We're done." We failed somehow, and now it's over. It's too late. And how wrong we are. How wrong we are.
God doesn't ask us to say anything. God isn't demanding from us these three little words or those certain phrases or prayers or speeches. God isn't hanging in the balance, waiting on your answer. God isn't suspended and confused and pining.
God is running.
God is running right toward you, while your mouth stays pursed shut, tight, silent. He is running and running and running... to you. "Anywhere I would have followed you." No, everywhere He has come to you. "I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you." No, anywhere He can reach you. "Say something, I'm giving up on you." No, He has never and will never give up... on any of us. "You're the one that I love and I'm saying goodbye." No, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever.
God is the father, arms open, running toward His son who has finally returned home. The son doesn't say a word. He doesn't say, "I'm sorry." He doesn't spout the speech he had prepared in his head. He doesn't say, "I hate you, dad, get away from me." He doesn't say a word, and "while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)" The father doesn't ask, "Where have you been?" "What are your feelings toward me?" "Why did you leave?" "Why did you say all those awful things?" He runs. He hugs. He kisses. He throws a party. He didn't wait for one word or a thousand words; he loved.