How Often Will God Forsake Us? “Never Once” (Song Analysis)

Why another song about God’s faithfulness? Don’t we have enough? 

No, because God’s faithfulness goes on forever. The psalmist David says it stretches to the skies (Ps. 108:4). It is inexhaustible.

And good thing it is, because we need it continually.

Though in life there are so many paths and unexpected detours, God’s faithfulness abides. “The only constant is change,” people often say, but the exception is God’s character. That never changes. We can’t praise God enough for this. Never once, in all of life’s journeys, has He or will He abandon us.

Lyrical Analysis

Written by Jason Ingram, Matt Redman, and Tim Wanstall, “Never Once” reflects on God’s faithfulness and its role in each part of our journey.

The song is easy for any Christian to personalize.

For example, when the first verse says, “Scars and struggles on the way,” each worshipper will fill in what those are in their life. Yet, collectively the whole room can sing the response:

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

The pattern this song takes reminds us of the book of Lamentations. The book recounts a deeply painful time in the life of Israel, when God punished them with exile for their continual rebellion.
Yet right in the middle of the lament, the author writes, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22–23)
When the author reflects on God’s steadfastness, his hope is restored.
“Never Once” similarly reflects on God’s steadfastness:

Carried by your constant grace
Held within your perfect peace

And later:

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise

Everywhere we are, in everything we experience, God’s grace abounds. Our very breath—the reason we survive each moment and live to see the next—is a gift of grace. But more specifically, God offers us an unending well of grace through Christ’s work on the cross. And so, moment by moment we can praise God—in song, in our hearts, in our work, in our play, in everything.

Musical Analysis

The song is easy to catch onto. Each verse is one slow walk down, comprised rhythmically mainly of eighth notes. The prechorus then slowly walks back up melodically to the chorus. The downbeat of the chorus lands solidly on the 1 chord, and you can really feel the weight and beauty of it. The first two lines of the chorus are comprised of only two notes, making it easy to belt. As the chorus wraps up, it soars with the lyrics “You are faithful God, you are faithful.”

In addition to being easy to sing, it’s a fun song for the worship band to play—the chorus especially, because of the way it strides through the chord progression.
“Never Once” remembers God’s faithfulness and presence with us through victories and pain. The chorus is an anthem of God’s continual nearness and involvement in every moment of our lives. Whatever you’re going through, “Never Once” speaks to you. Matt Redman put it simply: “You can trust God. He is faithful. It’s just who He is.”

This is a guest post by music professionals Cody Norris and Stephen Folden. Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash.

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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