When I was in my early teens, a beautiful girl fascinated me. Before this new awareness of emotions, I had been content with “hanging with the boys,” playing sports, and fishing.
I knew girls existed. But something about this girl caught my attention. She was beautiful, kind, and her smile was mesmerizing.
My knowledge of love was limited. Sure, I loved my mom, but that kind of love didn’t inspire the same emotions I was feeling for this girl. Who could I talk with? I sure wasn’t going to ask my mom – that would be too, weird.
After weeks of being confused about these new feelings, I worked up the courage to approach my older brother. Ron was nine years older than I was. And, he was more experienced with girls than me. Besides, he would not be inclined to tease me as my middle brother would.
“Ron, how do you know if you’re in love,” I asked. He thought for a moment and said: “Love is like a scratch in your heart that you can’t itch.” His words, I was sure, contained a hidden message; one that perhaps one day, I would understand.
As aware and confused as I was about what love meant at that early age, I’m mindful that for many, there’s a lot of perplexity regarding what it means to love – and be loved by God.
We’re drawn toward God (knowingly and unknowingly). Like an itch in our heart that can’t be scratched, we experience a longing that can’t be satisfied with material wealth, success, fame, or striving.
The good news is: God’s love for us is not predicated on what we do, what we have, or what acclaim we receive. Jesus says: “As the Father [God] has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” (John 15:9).
In the same manner that God loves Jesus, we are also, loved! Jesus invites us to: “…abide in my love.”
Perhaps you recognize an itch in your heart that you can’t scratch. That’s an invitation to receive and rest in God’s love for you.
The girl I was fascinated with wasn’t nearly as enchanted with me. It was a good lesson in love. Not everything we believe will soothe the itch in our heart does. Only God’s love can accomplish that fete.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:10-11).