adjective: (of a feeling, especially love) not returned or rewarded: he’s been pining with unrequited love.

Poor Peppermint Patty. She had it bad for Charlie Brown. It wasn’t meant to be.

We can relate. Whether you’ve been in her shoes or his, we know that unrequited love can be a terrible thing. Perhaps you’ve had a deep friendship–one you desperately hoped would turn into more. You went “all in” and confessed your feelings hoping, praying that they would be returned. Then came the dreaded Friend Zone Speech–and we wonder how anyone ever recovers from the disappointment.

It’s agonizing to be on either side of this: The lover is crushed. The beloved is distressed by having to be honest at the cost of significant pain.

Here’s the thing–God always returns our love. With Him, there is no such thing as unrequited love. Here’s a beautiful section from Henry Scougals The Life of God in the Soul of Man:

Again, love is accompanied with trouble, when it misses a suitable return of affection. Love is the most valuable thing we can give. By giving it, we effectively give all that we have. Therefore it is severely distressful to find such a great gift despised, and that the present that was made of his whole heart doesn’t result in any return. Perfect love is a kind of self-dereliction, a wandering out of ourselves. It is a kind of voluntary death, where the lover dies to himself and all his own interests. He is no longer thinking of or caring for his own interests anymore, and is only thinking of how he may please and gratify the one he loves. As a result, he is quite undone, unless he meets with reciprocal affection. He has neglected himself and the other has no regard for him.

But if he is loved in return, he is revived and lives in the soul and care of the person whom he loves. Now he begins to think of his own interests, not only because they are his, but because the beloved is pleased to own an interest in them. He becomes dear to himself because he is dear to the other.

But why should I write more regarding something so obvious? Nothing can be clearer than that the happiness of love depends on the return it sees. Here is where the lover of God has an advantage that is beyond what we can say or think. He has placed his affection on the One whose nature is love. The One whose goodness is as infinite as his being, and whose mercy preceded us when we were his enemies. Therefore God will certainly embrace us when we become his friends. It is utterly impossible for God to deny his love to a soul wholly devoted to him, who desires nothing more than to serve and please him. He cannot disdain his own image or the heart in which it is engraved.”

Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, 70-71.