Posted by: rcottrill | August 14, 2017

If That Isn’t Love

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Joyce Reba Luttrell (“Dottie”) Rambo (b. Mar. 2, 1934; d. May 11, 2018)
Music: Joyce Reba Luttrell (“Dottie”) Rambo

Wordwise Hymns (Dottie Rambo)
The Cyber Hymnal (Dottie Rambo)

Note: Dottie Rambo wrote more than 2,500 gospel songs. We Shall Behold Him is another of hers. She died as a result of injuries sustained in a bus accident.

How many things that are called “a sure thing” really aren’t? That investment in stocks that were supposed to bring big dividends. That horse that was certain to win the Kentucky Derby. What was claimed to be definite so often disappoints us.

In 1957-58, the Ford Motor Company developed the Edsel automobile, and had high hopes for it. But it was rejected by the public as overpriced and unattractive. It has become a lasting symbol of failed expectations. In design and start-up costs alone, Ford lost two hundred and fifty million dollars.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said:

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

But that axiom is wrong on several counts. Taxes come and go, and the Bible teaches that both Enoch (Heb. 11:5) and Elijah (II Kgs. 2:11) were caught up into heaven without dying. And those believers who are alive when Christ returns, will be ushered into His presence without passing through death (I Thess. 4:16-17).

So, can nothing be said to be certain? Is there no sure thing? Yes, the Bible is always true and trustworthy. As Jesus said to His heavenly Father, “Your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). That means the many promises of God in it are reliable. We can depend on what He has said. And the love of God for His children–which the Bible talks about–is also a sure thing.

How was the love of God most clearly revealed?

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him….The Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world (I Jn.. 4:9, 14).

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

“The Son of God…loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

In his book, Stories Behind Popular Songs and Hymns, Lindsay Terry tells the touching story behind two gospel songs about the love of God, songs written by gospel musician Dottie Rambo.

Dottie’s older brother Eddy was not a Christian. In fact, he’d led a very wicked life. A gambler and a thief, he’d spent time in prison. But now he was dying of cancer. His body had wasted away to a mere sixty-five pounds, and doctors said he had only a few weeks to live. When his sister tried to speak to him about salvation, he replied that he was too big a sinner for God to ever save him.

It was with her brother in mind that Rambo wrote the song He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need. When she sang it for Eddy, he wept, and asked her to write out the words for him. A few days later, Dottie Rambo was in a church to minister in music. There, after asking for prayer for her brother, she seemed to sense that something wonderful had happened to him.

The next day, she visited Eddy again, and he told her that the morning before he had finally found peace with God. She realized that he was truly saved, and told him more about the wonderful love of God for him. In her joy of that she later wrote a second song that says:

He left the splendour of heaven, knowing His destiny
Was the lonely hill of Golgotha–there to lay down His life for me.

If that isn’t love, the ocean is dry,
There are no stars in the sky, and sparrows can’t fly!
If that isn’t love, then heaven’s a myth,
There’s no feeling like this, if that isn’t love.

Of course, we don’t really prove the love of God by feelings, however inspiring. Feelings come and go, and they’re not always an accurate reflection of reality. The old children’s hymn offers a better evidence.

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.

It’s the Word of God that assures us of His love. And the love of God is as certain as there’s water in the ocean and stars in the sky. But even when He destroys both of those one day, to make way for a new heaven and new earth (II Pet. 3:10, 13; Rev. 21:1), the love of God will remain constant. It’s, what Jeremiah described to Israel as “an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). A sure thing.

1) What has been your own experience of the love of God?

2) What does the Bible mean when it says “God is love” (I Jn. 4:8, 16)?

Wordwise Hymns (Dottie Rambo)
The Cyber Hymnal (Dottie Rambo)


  1. You can’t get more central than He loves us. Excellent post. I appreciate this blog very much.

    • Thanks for your observations. My mother grew up on a home with five brothers who were heavy drinkers and pretty rough characters. She became a Christian at the age of 15, and had to hold her own in that environment. She was firm in her stand, but not combative. Two results of those years: 1) She grew up with a passionate hatred of alcohol; 2) She sustained her spiritual life by memorizing Scripture, committing whole books of the Bible to memory. Even in her eighties, if you gave her the first few words of a psalm, she could quote the whole psalm to you–though I never tested her with Psalm 119! 🙂

      Yes, there are times for righteous anger and confrontation. But for the most part, if we can manage it, Christians should be instruments of peace (Rom. 12:18). We are to speak with “grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6), possibly meaning, pleasant and winsome, but promoting purity, “ready to give a defense [an answer] to everyone who asks [us] a reason for the hope that is in [us], with meekness and [godly] fear” (I Pet. 3:15).


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