Brad Paisley: I thought I loved you then

“But now you're my whole life
Now you're my whole world
I just can't believe, the way I feel about you, (girl)
Like a river meets the sea,
Stronger than it's ever been.
We've come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.”

                        (“Then” by Brad Paisley) 

My husband and I celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary later this month. This Brad Paisley song with the words “I thought I loved you then” has been our theme song for many years. (It was not the song we danced to at our wedding…we eloped…a fact he has not lived down in 35 years!) Young love is wonderful and exciting, but “old” love is even richer and has so much more depth. The things I fell in love with “back in the day” are not necessarily the things I focus on now. His thick blonde curly hair that looked like a big afro, beautiful light blue eyes, and deep tan were great in their time. However, I also love his thinning hairline, which shows experience and wisdom, his eyes with crows feet that show care and compassion, and his weathered skin that shows him for the outdoor lover that he is. These things are even more special to me.

The other night those words came to me again -- “I thought I loved you then”…but this time, believe it or not, it was about my Lord. I have been a Christian for more than 40 years. When I first loved Jesus I was grateful for salvation and eternal life, but as time goes on, I find even more to love about Him. I was studying Genesis 1 (the creation story) the other day and my eyes were opened to many new things. How can that be? I have read that passage many, many times. But The Word of God never gets old; there is always something new to discover about our God. 

Case in point is the word hovering in Genesis 1:2, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” The word hovering here isn’t as mist over water but more as a mother bird flutters over her babies. This word is cross referenced with Isaiah 31:5, “Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.” How cool is that! The Spirit of God was hovering like a mama bird over what would be creation! Is that not a beautiful picture of a loving God?

Growing in understanding and love for someone takes time and commitment. My husband and I realized early on that we had to make our marriage a priority, even with 5 children and busy lives. Because that’s how love grows. Our relationship with God is no different. We cannot neglect our time with Him day after day and year after year and expect it to be a meaningful relationship. We cannot look to God briefly on Sunday or on holidays, and feel intimate with Him. 

James 4:8 tells us that if we draw near to God he will draw near to us. That’s a promise that you can count on. God loves you and wants to be in relationship with you. He already knows you and He wants you to know Him. If you do this, I promise that He is faithful. And as you commit yourself daily to Him, you will be able to say,  “I thought I loved Him then.”