The love you had at first…

The love you had at first…

Dan Wolgemuth


She was a freshman. I was a sophomore.

The very first time I had a conversation with her, it was a request for a date. I confess, not a “best practice.” Two days after that invitation and a positive response, we ran into each other at a campus-wide Valentine’s Day event. Our official date was two days later, on the 16th of February. 1975.

After the Valentine’s Day event, I asked her to go on a walk. Snow had recently fallen in rural Indiana, and the night seemed magical to me. Authentic conversation flowed. Mary was from Indianapolis. Wheaton, Illinois for me. Her faith was fresh, authentic, and compelling. Her interaction about Christ was tender and rich.

My heart raced. My mitten-covered hand found hers. And we walked, and talked… and then walked some more.

At the conclusion of the night I suggested that we repeat our walk on the following night, knowing that one day after that we would have our first “official” date. (I know, what a knucklehead to ask her for a date to a concert just four days before the event, but I digress!) She declined. Seems she already had a date on the Saturday night. My heart sank, even as my competitive juices flowed.

Sunday night, the 16th of February, it was date #1…at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Styx. Enough said.

This story. The one I just covered in 231 words stirs joy and delight and admiration and gratitude and respect and tenderness. It stirs love. 45 years later.

The energy of love. The beauty of something unexplainable quickening between two people.

And now, a reality check that admits that some of what burned brightly in 1975 is more measured, more subdued, more routine, more mature, more comfortable but…

“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Revelation 2:4, ESV)

The Apostle John, penning the words of Jesus to the church in Ephesus. Remembering back to a day when love pulsed powerfully. When love inspired courage. When love transcended reason. When love served sacrificially. A love that defied inaction. And now…abandoned.

A love story. God to men and women. God in pursuit. God with resolve. God in relationship. My hand in His.

God is love. Before Hallmark.

Whether married, single…brokenhearted or seasoned. God. The essence and definition of love. And us. His prize creation. The object of His affection. His valentine. “Be mine.” “Forever.”

A thoughtful accusation. You’ve forgotten.

Don’t forget. Don’t neglect. Don’t move on from the beautiful reality of the love you felt at first. That surge of joy. Overcoming transformation. Head and heart singing a duet. “I am loved, so I can love.”

“Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste…” (Revelation 2:5, MSG)

No time to waste. Tell Him. Whisper if you must, shout it if you can…"God, I love you. Because you loved me first…"

Love. Stop and remember…the matchless love of Jesus.

“… the greatest of these is love.”

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