There was an article in a newspaper about a man and his four-year-old daughter, Melinda. Every time her father came home, Melinda wanted him to read “Three Little Pigs” to her. Her father grew a little tired of it. So the father got a tape recorder, recorded the story, and taught Melinda how to turn it on. He thought that had solved his problem. But this lasted less than a day. Soon Melinda came to her father, holding out “The Three Little Pigs” and asking him to read. Impatiently, the father said, “Melinda, you have the tape recorder, and you know how to turn it on!” The little girl looked up at her father with her big eyes and said, “Yes, daddy, but I can’t sit on its lap!”
Of course, what she really wanted was love. That is what we all want, and we never outgrow our need for it. To be valued, to be cared about, to be loved with a love without strings, a love that will always be there for us.
The Bible has much to say on this. It tells us what Love does. It gives us a sense of place and a place to belong. The absolute craving for love and acceptance is a basic human need. Without love, or without the feeling of being loved, life is diminished to shriveled proportions. We all need love, and we will do whatever is necessary- negative or positive – to be or to feel loved. It is a basic need in human life.
You may have read Albert Camus’s novel The Plague. The scene is a city in North Africa where a terrible plague has broken out. No one may enter the city or leave it for a long period of time. People are dying by the hundreds. Those who survive grow weary and sick at heart. One of the novel’s characters is an old man. While looking into a shop window at Christmas, he thinks despairingly of his wife’s face. He has not seen her face for so long and probably will never see it again. The memory of her face brings tears to his eyes. And then Camus writes these words: “Always there comes an hour when one is weary of one’s work and devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth, and wonder of a loving heart.”
How true! All we crave for is a loved face, the warmth, and wonder of a loving heart. Loneliness is not seeing a loved face. Loneliness is not experiencing the warmth and wonder of a loving heart. What every person ultimately needs is a loved face; is the warmth and wonder of a loving heart.
We all want to be loved because deep down inside we know how utterly barren and desolate life would be without love. But sometimes love is hard to come by. In fact, we human beings can be extraordinarily unloving toward one another. Sometimes it’s hatred that poisons the soul with devastating consequences—just ask the victim of a home invasion or bashing of a family member, an abused child, or a church that’s been split apart in a church fight. And if it’s not hatred that reveals our lack of love, it’s the absence of caring for one another.
Mother Theresa once said that the biggest disease today is not tuberculosis or leprosy, it is being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everyone.
Love is sometimes hard to come by. But we do want it. We all want to be loved.
One day a few years back, author Robert Fulghum set out to learn more about the source of this wondrous thing called love. He wrote the popular book, All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and decided to bundle up people’s love stories and publish them in another book called True Love. So he went out into the coffee shops and bars and public markets of Seattle and put out a sign that said, “Tell me a love story and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and make you famous.” The only requirements were that they be short stories, and true. At first, people hesitated, he said, they’d “roll their eyes and laugh and say they had a love story all right, but it wasn’t short, and it wasn’t sweet.” But with a little encouragement from Fulghum they told it anyways. Drawn by the sign, people gathered ’round his table and listened to one another’s stories. Story led to a story and often they drew applause from the sympathetic crowd.
At first, people hesitated, he said, they’d “roll their eyes and laugh and say they had a love story all right, but it wasn’t short, and it wasn’t sweet.” But with a little encouragement from Fulghum they told it anyways. Drawn by the sign, people gathered ’round his table and listened to one another’s stories. The story led to a story and often they drew applause from the sympathetic crowd.
The shortest story came from a four-year-old girl who had been standing next to Fulghum’s table sucking her thumb and holding a yellow blanket against her face.
“Do you love your blanket?” asked Fulghum.
The little girl nodded her head, “yes.”
“Does your blanket love you?”
The child shook her head coyly, “No, silly!”
Do you know that love received from God gives birth to love given away to others? Oscar Hammerstein wrote a song that says it well. A bell’s not a bell till you ring it. A song’s not a song till you sing it. Love in your hearts is not put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away.
That’s why the Bible has this to say in 1 John 4: 7-12:
“We must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know Him. God is love .. real love is not our love for God, but His love for us. God sent His son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. Dear friends .. since God loved us this much, we must love each other. If we love each other, God lives in us and his love is truly in our hearts”.