by Nick Tucker – Associate Pastor – Youth and Service Experiences
Fall in Love Again… and again… and again…
I remember being a teenager and walking into youth group for the first time. I didn’t think I would know anyone. I thought church was boring, and I had no interest of being there at youth group. I really only went because of the girl I was dating at the time. Walking into the youth group as a new kid was weird. I had heard all the stigmas about Christians and refused to hangout around them as a teenager.
As I got to know more people, and as people got to know me, I began to form genuine connections with these people. People who did not seem to care what I believed; they were just happy to see me. They would ask me how my week was, they would ask me about soccer, life, just everything. Not once was Christianity pushed on me as something I MUST believe or else. But at the end of the nights at youth group, the adult volunteers would tell me they would be praying for me. Fast forward about a year and a half, I decided to commit and surrender my heart to Jesus. So, the question stands, what changed?
Through youth group I formed awesome relationships with people who saw me for who I was and loved me in a way which I had not been loved before. It was foreign, often uncomfortable, but I was challenged. The thing that changed for me is that I had to learn to fall in love with Jesus. I had understood and known a little of who Jesus was, but I refused to believe it for most of my teenage years. It took adult volunteer leaders consistently showing me love for me to finally understand completely the love of Christ.
I fell in love with Jesus as a 17-year-old and that’s not the last time I have fallen in love with Him. It is a daily pursuit of Him and running after Him just hoping to truly feel His love. There are seasons within my life where I have fallen away and grown distant. Seasons where I had forgotten what the love of Jesus feels like. This is a tricky thing to navigate because naturally as humans, we like things that are tangible, and the love of Christ is not always the most tangible thing in the world. It is often difficult to identify and so much more silent than the lies which the enemy tells us.
John 3:16 says this, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” This is the God that I fell in love with as a teenager. The God who sacrificed His Son. The God who pursues the lost. The God who calls me His child. It was not just these basic truths about God and His character that made me fall in love with Him. It was the moments where I hit rock-bottom (or thought I did), and He picked me back up. It was the moments of sitting around a fire with some of my best friends and getting to talk about how incredible He is.
It is an interesting thing that happens when we fall in love with God. Often there is a short period like any relationship where we have a “honeymoon phase.” Everything is awesome! God is speaking to us, we can hear His voice. We feel His presence. There is so much good! But with any relationship, after time, the flaws of people begin to come out. Now since God is perfect in His very nature, the flaws only pour out of ourselves. In our imperfections, we drift away from God. We get lazy and often forget how to be in love with God. Sometimes we hit the point where we think we might have fallen out of love. This is where perseverance is so crucial to our walk with God though.
We will go through trials and tribulations. We will feel as if God is distant at times. We will feel like nothing makes sense. But through all of it, God is still good and He always will be. The challenge is to learn how to fall in love again… and again… and again.
I have been reflecting for the past few weeks on what this looks like and what practices I can use to remember how to fall in love with God. I love God with all my heart and I have committed and surrendered my heart to Him, but only good things can come from falling in love with Him daily. I have spent time meditating and praying for clear memories of the moments where God showed up for me. I remember these moments, but they are sometimes cloudy. I have been sitting trying to remember those moments in their fullness. Remembering the emotions, the smell of the room, the sounds, the music, the whispers. God has been giving me glimpses of what it was that made me fall in love with Him in the first place. I pray daily that I can remember what that was like, and that I would continue to fall in love with Him daily.
I challenge you to sit and reflect on the moment you fell in love with God. Meditate on it. Remember what it took for you to reach that point. If you have not fallen in love with God, I want to challenge you to meditate on the love which God has for you. Sit and think about how much love it took to sacrifice His one and only Son for you, for me, for all of us. Let us reflect and remember the love which God has for us. Let us fall in love with Him again… and again… and again…