There’s something wonderful about awakening to our first love. I remember when my wife, Maureen, found some love letters that we had written to each other before we were married. They were written 35 years ago.
I was 22, returning to Texas again after visiting my mother and finding my true love living in my hometown in Iowa. I was smitten! But she was cautious. The letters expounded on these two emotions. My wife kept them.
Two years later we were married (33 years this October 11th!). We lived in her hometown, Chicago, and ended up here many years later to raise our family away from the city. The last twelve years have been amazing…the first twenty-one were…let’s just say, the “good, the bad, and the ugly.” We had a lot of relational growing up to do.
When Maureen found the letters again, something re-awakened in her heart about how much I really, really did and do love her…and how she really loves me. The same thing happened to me.
It reaffirmed something that we both knew but sometimes forget. Isn’t it funny that we can even begin to doubt. But reading the letters swept us both back into this same place in love. This place of bliss, feeling truly alive. And it kicked our already good marriage into overdrive! It’s wonderful, it’s full of joy, it’s euphoric happiness.
And this made me think how much my relationship with God is like our marriage. There’s the infatuated, smitten first love with Jesus. Then there’s the long road of commitment to this love…the very good, the bad, and sometimes ugly. The “ugly” expressing itself in my distorted expectations, misunderstandings because of poor communication, the selfish demands and the unfounded fears. And because sometimes my heart sleeps.
We never stop loving Him, but sometimes we doubt. We forget. We re-interpret His intentions, we make Him into something He’s not. Mostly, we get distracted with the busyness of life, raising a family and trying to live in this disconnected world.
God is love, which means He is mainly about relationships. And, as the Ephesian church found out, when we turn this love connection into something else…into doctrinal correctness, or worse, into validating ourselves with our religious witch hunts, we lose our first love (Rev.2:1-5). We find we actually lose everything. We really have nothing (1 Cor.13:1-3).
The only antidote is to repent from living so separated from Love. And that’s not a condemnation, it’s a heartfelt plea from a Lover who will never give up on us, never leave us, but only wants us to know what is so dearly important…for our sakes.
What is needed is a renewal of our distracted mind and wandering heart so that our relational dysfunctions can find healing and wholeness. So we will find rest for our anxious yet tired souls.
We need to read the letters again.
And I’ve also noticed that the more love I receive from God, and the more I let Him awaken my heart, the more awakened my relationships become in love….with the wife of my youth, with my children, and with others.
Beloved, we were made for love. Why? Because love awakens our soul, it unlocks the deepest longings of our heart and makes it come alive. It releases this wild, wondrous, unrestrainable, euphoric state of bliss and indescribable peace and joy that God always meant for us. And it must first come from God. But when we find it in Him, it can be sustained in our relationships with others too.
But when we don’t find this euphoric state called first love, we will seek out the counterfeits. We must because we cannot live without it. It will be sought out in our addictions, our fantasies, our compulsive behaviors, our busyness and our distractedness.
But as the modern philosopher, John Lennon, once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” So, the tragic result is, we miss love. Which means, we miss life. We miss everything. And isn’t this tragic truth the fuel behind every poignant romance story from the beginning of time itself, whether in prose, poetry or song? It haunts us whether we want to admit it or not.
So, most beloved of God, let Him awaken love anew in your heart today. And the very good news is, it doesn’t matter where you are right now in your human relationships, you qualify. All you need to do is to run into the arms of the Lover of your soul. I hear Him saying right now, “Awake, my love. Come awake….”
“I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one… (Songs 5:2)
Here is a Jeremy Riddle song that sends me into this place every time. Take some time to listen to this and let Him awaken love.
You are dearly loved,
By Jeremy Riddle
© 2011 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
CCLI Song # 6032768
Awaken my soul come awake
To hunger to seek to thirst
Awaken first love come awake
And do as You did at first
Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul pour in me
To overflow to overflow
Yes Spirit come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade
Spirit come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade
- You and I were made for intimacy (melwild.wordpress.com)