A nineteen-year-old young man shifted a little in his chair as he held his notebook and pen, writing down a few minor details before beginning. As he wrote, a man slightly older than him (maybe mid-lower twenties) twiddled his thumbs with a childlike contentment. Once the young man was finished with his preparatory writing, he set his pen down on his notebook and looked up. The man smiled kindly in acknowledgment to the young man, and they both took a deep breath.
“So tell me, what does it mean to fall in love?” asked the young man. The man across from him let out a minor laugh and sat up straighter with a grand smile, meanwhile crossing his arms with interest. “Well, that’s quite the question,” he said as his eyes fixed on the young man, studying his intent gaze. “Why would you like to know?” The young man paused in surprise. That was a question someone like his mom would ask. “Because I’ve yet to find a solid answer.”
The man nodded, understanding the young man’s dilemma. “And why do you think you’ve yet to find a solid answer?” he asked. The young man hesitated, looking upwards to think. After a few moments of hindsight, he replied, “Because no one’s answer seems to last.” At this response, the man accumulated a peculiar twinkle in his eye. “How’s that?” he asked. The young man scooted forward in his seat, meanwhile beginning to flip through his notebook, glancing at all of his writing.
After finishing flipping through his notebook, he looked up and said, “The young couples that I ask give the same answer that the middle-aged couples give. And the middle-aged couples that I ask give the same answer that the older couples give. All the while, the young couples appear happy. The middle-aged couples appear slightly happy, yet somewhat monotonous. And the older couples, sometimes retaining a fragment of happiness, seem somewhat distant. Therefore, because their uniform answers ween over time, I consider their answers invalid. i.e. not solid.”
“And what are their answers?” asked the man across from him. The young man sat up, sorting through his previous thoughts. “If I were to boil all their answers down, to fall in love is to ‘realize that the other person is “the one” and pursue accordingly’. The younger couples lean more towards the response of emotion. The older couples lean more towards the response of choice. But they all sort of mix together.” Once again, the man nodded. A moment of silence ensued as the young man waited for a response, but none came, so he asked, “But what do you think? What does it mean to fall in love?”
The man chuckled. “What makes you come to me if I’m not married yet?” This thought had occurred to the young man before he came. “I was told you’d have the right answer.” This response caused the man’s eyebrows to lift in curiosity. With a sly voice, he asked, “Who told you that?” The young man’s eyes grew slightly large with embarrassment. “Well-uh, I-I’m not quite sure exactly.” The man laughed and nodded, uncrossing his arms, and folding his hands on his lap, releasing some of the momentary tension. “You’re a Christian, correct?” asked the man. This brought a certain light to the young man’s face as he joyfully responded, “Yes! I am!” The man nodded, being well pleased. “Okay, okay. Let me ask you some questions:
Does God love mankind?” “Yes!” “Does He ever stop loving mankind?” “No, never.” “Will mankind ever do anything that will change that fact?” “No.” “Can you define love?” “1st Corinthians 13:3-8 says, ‘Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.‘”
The man nodded in agreement. “Good. When do you suppose God fell in love with mankind?” This question took the young man off guard. He had not expected a question like that. “1st John 4:8 says that ‘God is love.’ It’s not that He ever fell in love with mankind, but that He is love. It’s an eternal fact that forever has been and forever will be.” “Does mankind know true love without God?” “No.” “So then, is it possible for man to truly fall in love with another without God being in the picture?” The young man paused to think hard, but couldn’t respond. “How did God show His love to us?” “Romans 5:8 says, ‘But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.'” “So then, when God comes into man, how does He ultimately reveal His love through us?” “We are to lay down our lives for each other.”
“Now, is that an emotion or a choice?” “A choice.” “Did Christ want to be crucified on the cross, or did He chose to be crucified on the cross?” “Mathew 26:42 says that He chose.” “Was his choice dependent on man’s decision to accept His choice and repent?” “Well..” “What if no one repented and no one accepted His love?” “Uh..” “Is God still love?” “Yes.” “So would He have still chosen to be crucified?” “Yes.” “And when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, Galatians 2:20 says that you are ‘crucified with Christ: nevertheless you live; yet not you, but Christ lives in you: and the life which you now live in the flesh you live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved you, and gave himself for you.’ (‘You’ switched for Paul’s ‘I’) So were you crucified for your sins, or was Christ crucified for your sins?” “Christ was.” “And that was His choice?” “Yes.” “That was His act of love?” “Yes.” “Will that act of love ever be changed or ever fail mankind for the rest of eternity?” “No.”
The man let loose to a heavenly smile, mixed with a content squint of his eyes, revealing that his point had been made. He repositioned his posture to its original straightness and crossed his arms with contentment. The young man sat still with his jaw dropped open. It was as though he had heard a book’s worth of theology, and he was supposed to summarize it to a single notebook page (somehow done in a fifth of a single post). The young man cleared his throat and nervously asked, “Uh, I don’t mean to be rude, but could you elucidate your point?”
“From the world’s perspective, to ‘fall in love’ is ‘fall into man for man’s sake.’ Henceforth, the so-called ‘love’ is only functional as long as emotional and physical needs are being provided. However, once the emotions fade, physical traits die, and all other reasons for believing that the other person was ‘the one’ are gone, there is no fuel left to continue on as all once was. Man can never satisfy man.
“From the Bible’s perspective, to ‘fall in love’ is to ‘consciously walk into Christ and His sacrifice, with a God-given desire for another, for Christ’s sake.’ A relationship is anything but the focus. Christ is first and foremost the focus. And when one is crucified with Christ, there is a capability to love as Christ loved, which is the fuel and overflow for the ensuing relationship.”
The young man nodded, but then with a hint of doubt, replied, “Well, as a Christian, is it possible to ‘fall in love’ with the wrong person?” The man smiled. “You won’t be looking for the person. You’ll be looking to God alone, and when God places in you a desire for another, you’ll continue to look to God alone. And when that desire for another stays, you’ll look to God all the more. And even when you try to shake the desire as hard as you possibly can by a vigorous pursuit of God, and the desire stays, you’ll find the verse to be true which says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”
At this point in the conversation, the young man was scribbling down notes in his notebook with a satisfied facial composure. After a minute or so, he looked up and asked, “So, hypothetically, if I have a God-given desire for a young woman, and the more I pursue God, the more weight it gets, how am I supposed to continue from there?” The man smiled wide, knowing that the young man obviously was not talking in hypothetical terms. “With or without you, Christ alone is meant to be her satisfaction. Therefore, the only thing that you should focus on is pointing her to Christ at all cost, even if that means never being there to point her to Christ, but simply pleading before God in prayer to draw her closer to Himself. Do whatever it takes to make sure that Christ has her heart and not you. Then, in due time, He will see to it that your hearts are eventually knit together as one.”
The young man blushed as he closed his notebook and put his pen in his pocket. “You know, you sure know a lot about love.” The man across from him bowed his head in humility. There wasn’t really anything to acknowledge. “And I guess that leads me to a second question, which I hadn’t anticipated on asking, but I’ll ask it anyway. Have you ever fallen in love with someone?”
The man’s bowed head quickly shot up, draining the blood from his face, yet revealing dangerously blushing cheeks. “Why do you ask?” The young man laughed. “Some people speak best from experience.” The man slowly stood up and walked over to a window near his chair. He solemnly stood there for awhile, distraught as to how he should respond. “I ought not to tell you. I ought not to tell anyone.” “Why not?” asked the curious nineteen-year-old. The man looked over his shoulder, and then looked back outside.
“Suppose you walk into a jewelry store, and you stumble upon an extremely rare diamond, one of the rarest in the world, if not, the rarest. So you pick it up with one of the store’s cloths, and you take it to the jewelry dealer, saying, ‘I found this, and I ought not to even touch it. Please take it back before I even cause even a single smudge!’ However, much to your surprise, the jewelry dealer looks at you and exclaims, ‘Please, please. No. It’s yours, but only on one condition: that you leave it with me, and see to it that I clean it to its utmost beauty. Then, when my appointed time comes, I will give it to you. But remember, this is our secret.'” There was a hesitant pause as the man finished, asking, “Do you understand?”
The young man, realizing the connection of situations, stood up. “I do. Thank you.” And so he began to walk out, when the man by the window said, “Wait..” He turned around to face the young man. “Although.. it might seem as though time is moving like molasses, the following years will be worth it. She’ll be worth it, and Christ will be worth it!” The nineteen-year-old squinted his eyes, re-observing the man who was slightly older than him. Suddenly, his eyes widened, realizing something that he should have realized the moment that he had sat down. “H-how?!” The man smiled. “I wanted to say hello, and I wanted you to know that… you’ll speak best from experience.”
The young man, stiffening his neck with a respectful composure, firmly nodded and walked out of the room. After he walked out, the man by the window turned back around to view the swaying trees outside. He stood there for quite some time, gazing at the green scenery, deep in the thought. But as he listened to the delicate clattering of leaves, he heard someone walk through the door.
“I told him you’d have the right answer,” said a woman with a soothing, gentle voice. A chill ran up the man’s spine as he vaguely recognized the tone of who was speaking. His palms began to sweat in nervousness as he turned around. His entire being seemed to freeze as he could barely fathom her presence, but he somehow managed to choke out the words, “H-how did you know?” Her beautiful smile brightened the room as she came closer.
“Darling, some diamonds can only wait for so long.”