“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” Revelation 2:4 (KJV)
We were driving across the lonely stretch of Alligator Alley through the everglades between
Miami and , where we lived at the time. It was just Mom and me in the car, and I could tell she had something she wanted to tell me. It was one of those times when I knew it was going to be important, so I listened real close. I was a teenager, in that uncertain, not-sure-what-to-do-with-the-rest-of-my-life phase, and Mom was several years into her marriage with Dad. Mom and Dad were having some problems, and she was kind of depressed and reflective that day. Naples
I knew much of Mom’s history…that she had married young, and then had my four siblings by her first husband, Eddie. He had died a very tragic death, and Mom was left a widow and a single mother at a young age. She had lost many people who were dear to her…her father, mother, sister at age 15, brothers, and a host of others. But, the tidbit she shared with me that afternoon was all new to me. I had never heard her talk about it before. Maybe she and Dad’s marital problems brought it all to the surface, but for some reason she decided to revisit a very painful place in her past and take me along.
She started off by telling me that you never forget your first love. I had always thought her first love was her first husband, so when she went on to talk of a guy named, Norman, it completely surprised me. She had been young…only 17 or so, and had met
through the girl who married her brother, Paul. They had fallen madly in love, and they were talking of a future together. Things were good, but for a particular reason, my Grandpa didn’t care for Norman . He forbade her to continue the relationship, even though she loved him dearly. After a period of time, Norman went into the armed forces, and he was stationed far from home. In the months following, there was no contact between the two of them, even though Mom tried to keep in touch. Norman
After a period of time, Mom gave up on ever hearing from
again…she just assumed he had moved on and their relationship was over. She met Eddie, and this time, Papaw approved. Eddie and Mom were married, and soon after she became expectant with my oldest sister, Sharon. Norman
came home from the service and went to see Mom’s brother, Paul and his wife. He had an engagement ring in his hand and was looking for Mom! He had bought it and was planning to surprise her by asking her to marry him. The pain set in when my aunt told him Mom had already married another. Not long after, Mom was riding a bus downtown one day, and she ran into Norman ! Her heart ached as they stood and talked about what might have been. Mom was already unhappy in her marriage, and the temptation was strong to walk away and back into her interrupted relationship with Norman . I could tell by the way Mom talked that it was hard for her to do the right thing that day. Ultimately, she did….she said good-bye to Norman , and she stayed true to the vows she had made to her husband. The hurt of having left her first love has been hard for Mom to bear through the years. So many times, she has wondered how different things could and would have been had she followed her heart and waited. Norman
One day, after Dad died, I had the nerve to ask Mom if I could do something I had wanted to do since I found out about
. I wanted to see if I could find him. I felt like I had to know where he was, how his life had gone, and it was my secret hope that Mom could just talk to him…one more time. I started my investigative work and found his name pretty quickly on the internet. Mom was apprehensive and reluctant to think about talking to him again, at first, but with my persuasion, she finally agreed. She nervously began to call the phone numbers I came up with, and it turned out “her” Norman was the second one on my list. After all those years, they spoke again. It turned out he had married a lady and settled in Norman . Mom spoke with his wife, who seemed very pleasant, and from their conversation, it was obvious she had heard all about Mom. Kentucky wrote Mom a letter to catch up and tell her about his life and adventures through the years. Norman
One day, Mom called him just to say hello. His wife answered the phone with sad news.
had suffered a heart attack and passed away. It seemed I saw a part of Mom die that day, too. What might have been? We will never know. We all make our choices, and we live with the consequences, whatever they may be. People leave their first love, they move on, and they deal with the haunting questions that follow. Norman
In our passage of Scripture today, Jesus told the church at
that they had left their first love. It was the love they had once felt for Him. They were still a church-going crowd who looked like they had it all together on the outside, but, inside they were void of their original love and passion for Jesus Christ. He was no longer number one. Ephesus
Do you remember when you first met Jesus? Remember how your heart was “on fire” with a passion and zeal for Him? How you wanted to spend every possible second you could with Him, and you couldn’t wait to spend the rest of your life walking with Him hand in hand doing all you could to serve and love Him more?
Do you still feel that way? Is He still your first love? Does your heart still yearn for time with Him? Or somewhere down the line, did you walk away? Did someone or something come in and steal His place in your heart? Is He still number one? If anyone moved, it was you or me, my friend, because He never leaves. Is He still your first love, or have you left Him? He is still available. He still loves you….with a perpetual, unconditional love. He still wants to be first in your heart and life, and He is ready to forgive, if you have strayed. Psalm 86:5 (KJV) says, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” He is the God of second chances, and He allows U-turns. It won’t take you long to find Him. All it takes is a sincere, heartfelt prayer of repentance. He will put the past behind you, and you can start again. If you’ve left your first love, why not come back to Him today? It was too late for Mom and Norman…thank God, it is not too late for you and Jesus.