It’s simple. Or is it? It’s a god. Or is it God? It’s an emotion. Or is it a choice? It’s a sacrifice. But perhaps it’s the reward. Is it a cause or an effect? Is it part of God or is it the root of God? Love. In the secular world, love is god. In the Christian world, God is love. There is so many thoughts on love, talks on love, dreams on love, books on love, and once in a while lives of love. What on earth is this thing called love?
     I hope you do not expect me to answer these questions. For I too am on a journey. A journey I believe will last for eternity. This life is just the introduction after all. The forward to a never ending book. No, I can’t answer these questions with anything so sure it would convince a desperate seeker. And I am now speaking only to the desperate seekers. What I am about to share cannot be known without being experienced; what I mean to say, my friend, if you want this seed to grow you must plant it in your heart. You must water it. And very soon you will harvest it. I caution you, do not read this if there is no room in your garden. If you have many seeds in your garden, adding more will not help. Begin to cultivate what you already believe. Then you can test the fruit. But if there is room, let this seed go deep and grow tall.
     I’m not pretentious. I don’t take credit for the words that are on this page. As John said in his letter, I write no new commandment to you. My desire is to give you an snapshot of what this love might actually look like from a perspective you might not have ever seen. Let us begin to dig.
     Look over your life. Look back only a few days and you will see a pattern. There is something you hoped for, something you looked forwarded to. As you waited expectantly for this gift–perhaps a celebration, a holiday, a weekend, or a visit with a friend–you experienced an emotion toward it. In one word: you felt desire. A longing for. Regardless of quantity, I’m sure you can feel what I am referring to. You hear it very clearly in the common phrase I can’t wait for it! I believe this looking forward to is the first of the two sides of love. Now a few days pass, maybe even more. All the while this “moment” you hope to experience flies across your thoughts like a skilled trapeze artist. It plays various strings in your mind. Sometimes fear of missing out, jealousy, or doubts ring their dismal chords in your ears. But finally! The moment comes. The gift is given, the person is met, the girl says yes, the vacation begins, whatever you so desperately longed for–it happens. For a brief moment you experience the second side. If the first part is described as desire, the second part is described as contentment. It’s when you let out a long sigh at five o’clock every Friday evening. The “Ahhh…” moment. Some jump up and down, some finally relax, and some even tear up. What your reaction is, the feeling is the same. Now I want to take these two moments and weave them together. Perhaps you will see the same picture I see.
     Psalm 63 says Oh God you are my God; early I will seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked to you in the sanctuary, to see your power and your glory. Because your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you. Thus I will bless you while I live; I will lift up my hands in your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness…(NKJV)
     This, my friend, is the passionate pursuit. This is what I see when I think of true love. Too many people speak about love by discussing the fruit. That is not wrong. But many times it is not helpful. What the desperate seeker wants is to dissect the root. We have all heard love is patient, love is kind. But if this is the result, tell me, what is the cause? Why does love make an impatient person patient? This is why we look to the root: we are tired of observing, we want to start growing. So again I tell you: read the scripture above. Very good. Now let us dissect the root.
     David begins by describing his desire. It says in the heading that David wrote this psalm while hiding in the wilderness of Judah. He was alone, forsaken, physically exhausted and there was a large price on his head. For the rightful King of Israel, the wilderness was no place of comfort. In the middle of his lack, he realized something else. There was this desperate longing for something softer than physical comfort, something deeper than the water wells, someone more faithful than kings, someone lovelier than a wife, someone who could satisfy him forever. He looked up. Now David had experienced the goodness of God many times. Looking up was a natural response. As he did he cried out my soul thirsts for you! And God answered. Living water filled David’s spirit. His soul was satisfied. David entered into a love relationship with the only perfectly good, powerfully able, and personally knowable, King of kings and Lord of lords.
     Rewind. Two moments. Desire and contentment. But then what? In your life, the contentment last for a few moments at best. The vacations last for a few weeks, the weekend only a few days, the relationship maybe longer. In our world, there is nothing eternal except for our souls and our God. This is when the terrible feeling of disappointment sinks in. The Monday morning hell begins. It’s a cycle that would lead any sane person into a mental hospital. Only, we have convinced ourselves that we enjoy the cycle. Too many people realize the truth moments before the death bed.
     My friend, I believe I have made my point clear. But if I haven’t let me try again. Love is both the desire for and the happiness because of. Love, the complex emotional force, is what every single person is looking for. And because it has two sides, it cannot ever be fully realized in the temporal world. So where do the hungry hearts go? Those of you who see the pattern for what it really is, what do you do to satisfy that compelling thirst in your soul?
     Come with me and David. Come to the God who, according to John 4, is perfect love. Come, do not delay. Tell him of your heart’s desire. Confess your love and be still. Three things will happen.
     For the first time in your life, you will be complete. He will whisper truth into your life. He will say: ohmy dear child, I have waited for a long time. I, too, have desired you, my heart has thirsted for you since the beginning of creation. I so loved you I gave my only son for you. Enter into my rest for eternity. If you believe him, you will breathe out. Ahhh. You will smile. Sweet satisfaction will soothe the ache. You will open your eyes and they will shine.
     When you stand up, you will notice the second result. All of a sudden the attraction to comfort, the demand for other people’s attention, the need will disappear. The strongest desire will be to serve instead of being served. For the first time, you will be able to love those around you unconditionally. And then the third moment will smash you like a freight train. Suddenly…
     You will be running back to your closet. Suddenly, you will be pulled back into the place of intimacy with God as if your life depended on it, as if you have never been with him before, as if this one moment is the only reason you are alive. Aha! Welcome to what Paul called walking in love. It becomes a lifestyle of continual contentment and true purpose.
     This is the seed. Plant it deep. There are more sides to this thing called love. But I believe the root will come back to these two moments of desire and contentment. For if you study you will see both at work in the Father’s heart since creation. You might argue, is not this love self-centered? I say no! Because this love is out-sourced–that is it exists outside of us in God–it cannot be self-centered. Once you have it, you will feel a need to share it. That is why I am writing this right now. That said, again there are more sides. If you would like to dialogue more about this, feel complete freedom. Think on these things.
      May the soil be rich, the water be sweet, and the sun be strong.