I saw him leaning against the wall near the door of Braum’s, oblivious to the world, entranced by the voice on the other end of the phone.
I stole a glance as I loaded my kids in the car. I smiled a “knowing smile” if there ever was one. He was just a boy, 17 maybe. I knew his look, that smitten smile.
He swam in her words, practically drowned. He was drenched in love, or was it infatuation? Still, it made me wonder. When was the last time my breathing slowed and my heart beat faster to hear someone’s voice?
As I drove home I pondered why reading the Bible has become so difficult for me lately.
I once read the Bible like a lover, hanging on every word, but now I read it like an archeologist, a theologian, a person with a to-do list. Why don’t I feel the passion I once did when I read those ancient words?
After all, isn’t this what Scripture is, God’s love letter to us? His love infused into the world, unfurled in a beautiful narrative of His grace, His redemption of mankind?
This reminds me of the letter to the church of Ephesus in Revelation. “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:4 NIV).
The church in Ephesus received praise for endurance and perseverance, but they lost some of the ardor they once prized above all else.
Likewise, our love for Christ can erode. Life smashes in our hopes or unanswered prayer diminishes our love. It’s not that we’ve left Jesus. We’re still faithful, but the enthusiastic love we once offered Christ can slacken.
We see this happen in marriage, too, don’t we? Romance changes. It matures. If bitterness and resentment slip in and remain unresolved, love can unravel all together.
Teenage love remains powerful because it’s not jaded. It’s simple, pure devotion and oh so naive. We know better as adults.
No, I don’t believe we should always feel God’s love like a whirlwind sweeping us away. Life doesn’t work like that. It can smash us in and skin our knees.
What I’m talking about is losing love for God in the quietness of complacency, losing trust that He wants to pick us up, soothe us and bandage our bloody knees.
We must return to our first love because His love for us never fails and stands infinitely taller than our love for Him ever will.
If the famous verse from Song of Solomon, “He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love” (2:4 NASB), were written in modern English it might sound more like this:
He doesn’t stop tweeting night and day about His love for me. My picture floods his FaceBook timeline. He can’t wait to introduce me to all of his friends and family.
Whether it’s difficult or easy to believe, know it’s true. He’s crazy about you.
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand– when I awake, I am still with you” (Psalm 119: 17-18 NIV).