Does God love me?
God LOVES me. This is the second leg in my “Faith Stool”. If this leg is shaky, then my faith will not be stable. It will wobble in times of trial and difficulty. So much rests on my answer to the question, “Does God love me?”
Can you imagine what it must have been like for a mail-order bride heading out West to meet the man she had agreed to marry? The thoughts which must have been turning around in her head. “Will He like me? Will I be good enough? Will He learn to love me?” I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to live in that kind of uncertainty as I headed toward my marriage.
Yet, that is often the lie Satan sneaks up beside me to whisper in my ear. Statements and questions which tempt me to doubt God’s love for me, to treat God’s love as something which isn’t sure, something which must be earned or proved. “Does God actually love you?” “Are you good enough for God’s love?” “God can’t love you if you act like this.” “IF God loved you He wouldn’t let this happen to you!”
When Satan succeeds in planting that seed of doubt over God’s love for us, it affects us in so many areas of life. It causes us to relate to God in ways that undermine our faith:
We forget God’s grace and live our lives in fear or legalism:
If we are not confident of God’s love it is easy to fall into the trap of living to “please Him” or “earn His love”. We live our lives in fear that we may not be good enough to earn the love and forgiveness we desire. Over and over again in Scripture we are told that we are “saved by Grace” Eph 2:8-9. God’s acceptance of us is a gift Christ bought for us, because He loved us. It is not something we earn. Our good desire to live His way is something which overflows from our thankfulness for his love and grace. In 1 John 4: 16-18 we are told:
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
When we are tempted to doubt our forgiveness and fear punishment, John 3:16 reminds us that it was God’s love for us that bought our forgiveness:
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
We look at the circumstances of life and interpret “unpleasant” circumstances as proof of God’s lack of love for us:
It is easy in times of trial or difficulty to fall into the trap of assuming that these problems prove that God does not love us. IF God loved me, the argument goes, He would have provided me with a boyfriend much earlier; He would not have let my baby die; He would not have let my child be born with Down Syndrome. I have faced each of these arguments (and more) over the years and I am so grateful for the faith God has given me in His love for me. It allows me to face these circumstances and seek to understand them with truth.
God loves me and yet, I don’t have a boyfriend; my baby is gone; my child and family face a life of challenges.
It allows me to say in the face of them,
“God loves me and so there must be good in the midst of this.”
“God loves me and so He will be with me the whole way as I deal with the on-going grief, difficulties and challenges this will bring.”
“God loves me and so I know He will be patient with me as I work through these questions.”
“God loves me and so I can have peace as I trust Him for the future…because I know He loves me.”
Reggie Osbourne expresses this idea in a blog post entitled: Proof of His Love.
In those times of pain, I must take my eyes, for a moment, OFF of my suffering and tell myself, “This cancer, this trial, this attack, this depravity…this is not the test of God’s love for me. His love does not hang in the balance of today’s uncertainty.” He proved His love for me, once and for all, at the cross of Jesus the Christ….
But I know this: God is not my enemy. He is my Father who loves me. And He need not prove His love to me through healing, alleviation of pain, financial prosperity, or towering achievements. Though I may ask for all of these, His proof of love does not depend upon any of them.
His love was proven in Christ.
What if I doubt God’s love for me?
As I was preparing for this post I was so encouraged as I found verse after verse, declaring, and praising God’s love for us as His people. These are just some of the New testament ones:
- John 3:16
- 1 John 4:9
- Romans 8:37-38
- Romans 5:5
- Romans 5:8
- Ephesians 2:4-5
- Ephesians 5:1
Memorise these verses…find even more….remind yourself of His amazing, sacrificial love for us, demonstrated once and for all, in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Meditate on them and cling to them when you are tempted to doubt. Point others to the cross. Have others around you who will point you to Christ.
Pray that God will give you an ever increasing insight into how much He loves you. Pray for yourself. Pray for others. As I have written this post, this has been my prayer for all who will read it, for you:
God is Good. God loves me. These two truths are foundational for a strong faith. Next week we will look at the third leg on my “Faith Stool”. God is in control.
SERIES: 3 Foundations of Faith – the 3 things I believe which keep my faith strong and stable
Week Four: God is in Control: Do I believe it? So what?
Do you struggle to believe that God loves you? Do you doubt His love for you when you look at the circumstances of your life? Are there people in your life who can remind you of the sacrifice God made for you at the cross? I hope so.
Hugs and Prayers,