The early days of a romance possess a quality that comes to possess us. We stay up all night, talking. Listening, genuinely. We think of nothing else. We’d do anything for them. But gradually, we get to know them. We get comfortable. We settle in. Following Jesus can follow that example. But should it? Can we escape that all-too-common trap?
I rested in you in childhood days
You formed the landscape of my life
Then college questions challenged me
I drifted and searched,
Unsatisfied with who I was
unable to change
you transformed me
breaking the back of my self-love
and I exulted in your power and love and grace
I walked through mountain meadows
no hint of a human touch
and rejoiced in your majesty and creativity and grace
I saw you move
bringing a nimbus cloud of comfort to a pregnant mother
raising a wooden beam to form a cross
that brought the mother’s brother to you
and I appreciated your touch and comfort and grace
You woke me early
with a song proclaiming
you paint the morning sky with miracles in mind
I saw the paint and waited all day for the miracles
the sunrise foreshadowed the miracle of a week later
and I said thanks for your beauty and concern and grace
in the early days did I feel so blown away to see you act
and now see it as the normal landscape of my life?
Blow me away
may I never see your acts
as anything less than miracles
may I never become jaded
in who you are
That poem expressed a grief of mine, that settling in. The newness of knowing him faded. I suspect a lot of us feel that. And frankly, the spiritual life can no more maintain the emotional high than can the romantic one. Not only with many of us, the church in Ephesus did also, according to Jesus, “I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:4-5).
The joy, the intimacy, the freshness of continuing to grow closer and learn, should remain present. How do we restore that? We do what we did back then. We revisit the early days, what made it so good. And we do those. Again. We take quiet walks at the beach or the woods, or on the motorcycle. And we focus on him. We listen raptly in prayer, or as we read his words on paper. We sacrifice, feeling it’s a privilege to do so for the one we love. We brag about him, his love, his grace, his truth.
Kick Starting the Application
If you’ve followed Jesus for some time, have you seen this tendency in yourself? For you, what allowed the freshness to grow a bit stale? I suspect we’ll get a variety of answers on this one. In the early days, what best brought the passion for you? When did that wane? Why? How can you resurrect it? This week, think back on just one of the patterns of your early days with Jesus, and deliberately work that into your daily routines. Then, after a week, evaluate how that worked.