When The Feelings Fade
It was a day like any other. Nothing unusual about it at all. I was at work doing my job like I had on so many other days. I remember that I had left my office and was headed across the plant floor to take some paperwork to the far end of the paper mill. I was halfway to my destination when I heard a voice shouting above the noise of one of the large media machines. “Hey!!! Come here!” I looked over to my right and saw a group of about 5 guys gathered together in a small huddle. As I got closer I could hear one of the guys telling the others, “He’s a pastor. He’ll settle this argument.”
The same guy who had called me over asked the question, “Is love a feeling or a choice?” Not what I was expecting. A group of men standing around arguing the natue of love? I was expecting something along the lines of hunting or football. You know, men’s issues. But love? Feelings? I lifted up a prayer to heaven, looked them in the eyes, and responded as best I knew. “It’s both.” I watched as the looks of bewilderment stretched across their faces. I don’t think a one of them had been expecting that reply. So, now that I had their attention, I poured out my heart.
“It’s like this. I feel love for other people. I love my wife. I love my kids. I love my friends. I love God. Sometimes that feeling is so strong that it is almost like a drug. It’s that overpowering. During those times everything is easy. I want to be around those people. I am glad to do things for them. Life is good. Life is fun when the feeling is there. But there are those times when the feeling fades. Maybe somebody said or did something that I didn’t like. Maybe they hurt me. Maybe I’m just having a bad day. But whatever the reason, I don’t feel a whole lot of love sometimes. It’s during those times that I have to make a choice. When the feelings fade I choose to love my wife…my kids…my friends…even God. If love is only a feeling, than you might as well quit now. Feelings will come and go like the wind. If love is only a choice, than we miss out on all that God created us for us to enjoy. He made us with feelings. He delights when our feelings are in line with His purposes. Yeah, love is both. Love is a feeling. Love is a choice. When the feeling fades, I choose to love. But given the choice, I want the feeling as well.”
I imagine that some of you probably find yourself in that very place today. The feelings of love faded a long time ago. And now you find yourself in the valley of decision, asking yourself questions that you never imagined you would ever face. “What do I do now? Do I try to hold on? Do I give up and quit? Move on to another person? Get out while the getting is good?” If you don’t mind, let me make a couple of suggestions. First of all, pray and ask God to renew the feelings you once had for the other person. I know it seems impossible right now. But God specializes in bringing life out of death. Nothing is ever really dead in the hands of our God. Secondly, in the meantime, make a choice. Forget whether the other person deserves it or not (they probably don’t…but neither do we). That’s not the issue. Love never fails. Unless we fail to love. Over the past 20 years I have watched seemingly irreparable relationships find new life because someone made a choice to love. The feelings were gone. Completely. But in the absence of feeling someone made a choice. And in time that choice became the seed that brought forth a harvest of restoration. Never forget that with love it’s never too late. It’s never beyond hope. With love it’s never impossible. Love never fails.