I’ll never remember my first date with Kathy. We were supposed to go to a ballgame together and she stood me up. I’ll never forget going to the ballfield with such great anticipation and walking back to my dorm room . . . Mad! Praise the Lord, I got some wise counsel from a good friend and I asked her out again. We really hit it off. I would almost say that, from the first date, I just knew she at least might be God’s one for me.
We never broke up and for three years we dated. One of those years we had to date long distance. Now this was before cell phones. We only got to talk to one another about once per week, so the rest of the time we could just think of one another. But absence really did make our hearts grow fonder and in June of 1980 we were married. You know, on that day, I thought I really loved my wife, and I suppose I did.
But then came our first illness. Kathy had a very significant back problem our first couple of months of marriage, then I got deathly sick a few weeks later. We lived in a roach infested apartment with just a few sticks of furniture and hardly had two pennies to rub together. Then there was graduate school, 5 or 6 job changes, 10 moves, a baby girl, a miscarriage, and all the things we shared just getting through life.
You know, through it all, I have thought I loved my wife. But when I look at how I feel about her today and compare it to how I felt about her on June 11, 1980, I’m not even sure I knew what love was then. After all we’ve been through, we have gotten to really know one another.
Now you want to know something? You can come up and run me down and criticize me all you want, and God may give me the grace to forgive you and pray for you or listen and learn from what you say. But you best not come and run down Kathy to me. You see, no one has to stand over me with a stick and say, “Now Rusty you better stand up for your wife.” They don’t have to. Why? Because our relationship is so close that I want to stand up for her.
Do you get what I’m illustrating here? When I have a hunger to know God, I follow hard after Him and when I follow hard after Him I get to know Him better and better, so much so that when I get down the road and look back at that day I was saved, I wonder if I ever really knew Him at all, but I hunger to know Him more and more. And no one has to stand over me with a rule book telling me how I’m supposed to behave because I love Him and I don’t want to hurt Him.
Now here’s the tragedy: Self-satisfied, good enough Christians have no hunger, and because they have no hunger, they really have no love, and because they have no love, they have to have rules.