Neither of the men gave an answer because, neither knew exactly what the question meant. Love? To love someone or to be loved by someone?
The first man had always thought of love as something you could acquire by giving. He thought to himself, as long as I have something to give, people will love me. It had always been that way. The more he gave, the more people "loved" him for it. His earliest memory was his father hugging him tightly when he had given his father a drawing he had made of the two of them hunting. He remembered that hug, how tight it was. How safe he felt in his fathers arms. He had somehow equated love with the "giving" of that simple picture. Some time later his parents divorced. He didn’t see much of his father after that. Over the years he would wonder if his father’s hug was his way of saying he loved his little boy or was he saying "goodbye". When the word "love" was mentioned, that is what he would think of. When he gave gifts to his wife, children or friends, they would hug him. And in return he would hug them tight. But sometimes at night, when he lay in his bed before falling asleep, he would sigh with heavy tiredness. A tiredness which often came from the feeling that he had no more to give and wondered when he would be able to rest.
The second man was not sure what he was being asked? Do for love? Was this a trick question? Love? The word love conjured up emptiness. Nothing. A void. He knew what the dictionary said, "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person". He had looked it up one particularly lonely day. It actually listed thirteen other definitions as a noun, and five as a verb. None of which he could personally relate. He had decided a long time ago that "love" was a figment of peoples imagination. That it was strictly a temporary lapse of reason. He had made that decision at a very early age when he overheard one of his social workers talking to his new foster parents about him. They spoke in whispered tones but he could hear every word. "He just needs someone to show him some love, he’s had a hard time of it, his mother dying so young and his father no where to be found." He remembers very well his foster parents idea of love. Everything was great at first. For the first time in his life he had his own room, with his own bed and dresser. He could close his eyes and still remember the smell of the new clothes and shoes that were in "his" closet. He liked his new home. The ‘fosters’ were nice, at least until they brought home the "baby", then it was like he became invisible. It was a matter of time until he was taken back to the boys home. The day they drove him back was the very day he decided that it had all been a figment of his imagination. Love, poof, it’s gone.
The silence was deafening waiting for the two men to answer. The Holy Spirit wasn’t quite sure if they were going to answer. God had wanted them to know why they were here. He wanted them to specifically know that He loved them so he was here to make sure they got the message.
He looked directly into the eyes of the first man and he said, quietly but firmly, "The answer is for you, you do not have to do or give anything to receive love, there is love that is freely given to any who would ask, the Lord says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It was at the last word the man’s eyes opened wide. How did he know what I was thinking? His heart was beating a thousand beats a minute. This can not be possible, how did he know I wanted rest?
He turned to the second man and said, "The answer for you, love is real and exist. Love knew you before you were born, love knows the very number of hairs on your head and has seen you all the days of your life. Love wants to adopt you and become your Father. Love has built a home for you and is waiting for you there. The Lord loves you with an everlasting love and has sent His only Son to die on a cross for you." With those words, the man’s heart was pricked. What did he mean, wants to adopt me and be my father? How could he know that I was an orphan? Why do I want to know more?
Both men sat looking forward not realizing what the other man beside him was seeing or thinking. They did not know each other. They each sat among a crowd of strangers listening to the words coming from the man behind the pulpit. He was speaking about love. A kind of love neither had ever really known nor understood. As God looked down over the crowd He could see the two men sitting there. Each lost in his own thoughts. He hoped and prayed that today would be the day that they would finally know L-O-V-E. That they would finally know Him. He waited patiently at the door of their hearts, then He decided to knock.
The first man heard the knock. At first he didn’t recognize it. He was still thinking about the word rest, had the preacher really said that? He thought to himself, "That is what I need, that is what I have been asking for." And then the knock got louder. And then before he knew what he was doing he opened the door. At that very moment a peace washed over him. His weary body let out a sigh. For the first time ever he could breath. He could answer the question now, what would he do for love. "I will rest and trust in the One that loves me, my Savior, Jesus!"
The second man heard the knock but was not sure what it was or what it meant. He was lost in the thought of actually knowing his father. He was always looking for him in the face of every man he thought might be the age of his father. And now those words were ringing in his head, "he wants to adopt you and become your father". The knock got louder. What if I am not good enough? The man speaking from the pulpit shouted, "You do not have to be good enough, He loves you just he way you are!" That startled him from his thoughts, what did he say? The knock turned to a pounding. He then realized that it was God wanting him, knocking on the door of his heart, wanting to come in, wanting to be his Father. He reached for the door and without thought, opened it. His heart exploded into a thousand pieces. And as he tried to gather himself from the sudden overwhelming warmth that came over his body, he could feel tears on his cheeks. Tears? Where had they come from? What did this mean? For the first time in his life he knew a home, he knew a father, he knew love. He could now answer the question, what would he do for love. "I will accept the love of my Father and I will learn to love others as my Savior does!"
God smiled and said, "Holy Spirit, well done, well done!"
written by Michelle M. Padilla 11/18/08
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him,
and he with me.