Love Is All We Need...

...as long as it is in the right place.

So many people desperately want to hear those words, "I love you" or "I can't live without you!" As humans, we long to feel loved and to express our feelings for those whom we love. We want to find the perfect person, marry them, and live happily ever after. We want to pretend that we can be satisfied in marriage, that we can find rest in this life. The problem is: we can't. As Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."

I wonder if our longing for love in other people isn't just a displacement for the love that God has for us. I'm reminded of Psalm 139.
"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar."

- vv. 1-2
We want someone who can know what we are thinking, just with a glance or a smile.
"You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways."

- v. 3
We want someone who knows all of our idiosyncrasies, and who loves us because of (or in spite of) them.
"Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD."

- v. 4
We want someone who finishes our sentences for us.

We want these comforts from people of the opposite sex, but it is only the Lord who can truly fulfill them all. Even our spouses cannot not know us perfectly. We cannot share our every thought, our every feeling with another person. The demands of life (and our not having telepathy) prevent it from occurring. Only the Lord can know everything about us.

But more importantly, when we look for love in other people, we want it to be constant. G.K. Chesterton said, "It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word." We get married because we want someone to love us for the entirety of our lives, and often beyond. Yet the high rate of divorce indicates that even marriage cannot guarantee the eternal love of fallible humans.

The Lord reassures His people, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3). His love is unceasing - not just in this life, but in what lies beyond it as well. His love never fails. Yet time and time again, our trust and our love placed in other humans fails us. We continue to place comfort in other people, instead of seeking our security in God. Rather than letting the Lord be our refuge, we put our heart and soul and mind and strength into our relationships with other people.

It's funny, because we don't normally think of romance as being sinful. Obviously, relationships can lead us into impurity and sin, but we don't think of longing for others as necessarily bad (that's not to say it always is, either). But when we seek our security in relationships, we are filling that God-shaped hole in our hearts. We are filling a void that is meant for God, and inadvertently separating ourselves from Him. We are accidentally falling into sin!
Jesus Doodle!Before official relationships begin, both people tend to develop a crush on each other first. The characteristics of a crush are pretty clear: constantly thinking about the person, talking to your friends about him or her, writing adorable heartfelt poems, doodling on every spare scrap of paper, and floating through the day because of being generally happy with life. I can sense these characteristics when I think of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17: "Be joyful always; pray continually."

I wonder if, before we start to deal with our human crushes, we should start cultivating a more divine crush. God ought not be second in our hearts. Plus, I think it'd be much more romantic to hear my husband say, "I can live without you, because I rely on God, but I don't want to live without you, because you help bring me closer to Him."