We read I'll Love You Forever to our sons when they were growing up. We made up our own tune to the song, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."
It's hard to remember those days in the rocking chair, reading it over and over to them, without getting tearful.
It turns out that many people can relate. The book's author, Robert Munsch, reports that it has sold 15,000,000 copies. His publisher didn't want to publish it because it didn't seem like a traditional children's book.
If just reading the title gets you choked up with personal memories, you may not want to read the true story behind the book. Munsch says that the song came first:
I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song
was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and
I couldn’t even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was
very strange having a song in my head that I couldn’t sing (ibid.).
He later built a story around the song, and the rest is history for millions of parents and their children. I imagine Gary, Dale, and Carl would tell you this is their favorite book from childhood. It's certainly ours.
Isn't it interesting that such a beautiful, intense love story surrounds something so heartbreaking and tragic? Out of the author's pain and sorrow, this incredible, enduring legacy was created. Knowing the backstory only intensifies the power of the words in the book.
Have you ever looked at the story of the cross in that light? From the first page to the last, Scripture teaches us that God loves us, His children. He cares for us, protects us, and wants us to live with Him forever.
But there is a backstory. In fact, it goes back to eternity. There, the Godhead made a plan to make sure we could live with Him forever. But it would require His Son dying for us in order to make it happen. Discovering that should melt our hearts. What love! It's a forever love, one that can make us the best we could ever be.
Here is God's message throughout Scripture: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness" (Jeremiah 31:3). In other words, "I'll love you forever."