Wednesday, February 15, 2017

First Love

My An Arkie's Faith column from the February 15, 2017, issue of The Mena Star.

A Senior in High School

When I was in high school, I was too shy to talk to girls. I was almost too shy to talk to boys. When I first went to high school, it was at a private school that only went to the tenth grade. When I transferred to another school at the beginning of my junior year, the only people that I would talk to were those whom I knew from my previous school.

Although I was too shy to talk to girls, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t interested. At the beginning of my senior year, there was a girl who stole my heart the first time she walked into Mr. Brost's history class. Because I was so shy, it was almost a year before she had any idea that I was interested. I think that God knew that I needed all of the help I could get, so he made it so that our paths crossed in several ways that year. Mr. Brost selected five students to work together each week producing learning packets for history class. The special girl and I were both in the group. We both worked at the local furniture factory.  I worked on the dresser jig, and she made drawers. I would spend my breaks back with the drawer makers, but she still didn't catch on.


Just before graduation, I lost my job at the furniture factory. I was accused of doing something that I hadn’t done, and the punishment was a two-week suspension. I told management that I was innocent, and if they persisted with the suspension, I would never be back. My sense of justice caused me to lose a good paying summer job. News of my trouble with management quickly made its way around the factory. When I picked up my personal items from the jig that I worked at, there was a soda can with a flower in it. It was from that girl back in the drawer making section. As angry as I was with the situation, I felt warm and tingly inside because it became obvious to me that the girl who had stolen my heart at the beginning of the year cared about me.

When it came time for our high school graduation, I still had never gotten up the nerve to ask her out. Finally, I mustered up every ounce of courage I could find and asked her if she would march with me when we graduated. She told me that she would like to, but she had already told another boy that she would march with him. She said that if I talked to the other boy, she would march with me. Once again summoning up every bit of courage I had I talked to him. He was very gracious and bowed out. I was on cloud nine.


On our very first date away from school, we went to an amusement park. I don’t handle motion well, and easily get carsick and seasick. As we were riding one of the rides, I kept feeling sicker and sicker. This was our first real date, and I felt terrible. I didn’t want her to know that I was too wimpy to ride amusement park rides. I said nothing and hoped that my nausea would pass. It didn’t. I threw up on the ride, all over both of us. She took me to her house and got some of her Dad’s clothes for me to change into while she washed mine. After my clothes had been washed and dried, we went back to the amusement park but didn’t ride anything but the train.

The rest is history. I knew that if our horrific first date didn’t end our relationship; she was as awesome as I had always thought. After a year-long relationship, with five hundred miles separating us, we were finally in the same place at the same time. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this girl. On June 15, 1975, we married.

1975

I know that usually high school romances do not last forever and that when kids get married in their teens, the marriages aren't supposed to last, but we have proven those things wrong. It is still awesome to go through each day with my first love! I can't wait to see where this journey leads.

Many relationships don’t last. According to the National Vital Statistics System, In the United States, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds. For many people, it seems that it isn’t possible to maintain that first love. Many Christians also seem to have a problem maintaining their relationship with God.

Maybe your relationship with God isn’t what it once was. Do you remember when you first gave your life to Jesus? It was exciting to know that your sins had been forgiven. But have things changed? You still pray, sometimes. You still read the Bible, occasionally. You are willing to talk about Jesus, but only if someone asks about your beliefs.


What has happened? Probably the same thing that happened to the church of Ephesus. In Revelation 2:4 (NASB) Jesus told the church at Ephesus, “but I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

Gentle Reader, are you are beginning to leave your first love? Was there a time when you were closer to God than you are today? God is calling you back to your first love. He wants you to find your happiness in Him. He wants you to experience that first love.

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