I stand to be corrected, but I’ve always believed that it is easy to believe and feel God’s love when all is good and well. Just as it is easy to exercise faith when life is good and there aren’t any present challenges. However, understanding God’s love is never complete without experiencing it during the not-so-good times in our lives. The times we feel inadequate, unworthy, guilty of disobedience. How about the hard times, difficult and trying times when it seems the world is crumbling before you? Then something unique that reminds you of God’s love happens?
I’ve been there a number of times in my life. In fact, quite recently, I was watching a show on Loveworld Sat T.V. station. It was about the activities of the InnerCity Mission of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome Foundation. Women and children lived in deplorable conditions in an IDP camp provided by their state government in Kogi state. No food, water, or clothing supplies. Some of these women had 4- 6 kids, sleeping on mats in a public space… no proper healthcare.
In fact, one of the women said her son died because she couldn’t take him to the hospital. I broke down watching that video. I couldn’t help but wonder how I have complained over the years about my job. How I want a better life for myself when in reality, I am blessed beyond measure. All I need is to see it, be happy, content, and grateful to God.
Now, this does not mean God loves those people less, but seeing them reminded me of God’s love towards me. Everyone’s experience of God’s love differs. It is advisable to deal with God as he deals with you uniquely. We are all special to him.
Understanding God’s Love
Here are a few thoughts to consider.
How can a God who sent his son to die for us to bring salvation, healing, hope, and restorations to the world: A God who became flesh to bring righteousness to us, enjoy seeing us suffer, live in poverty, sickness, and unhappiness?
No! It is impossible. It does not make sense at all.
God’s love for us is unconditional. The bible records that,
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
so it is not about what we have done or what we haven’t done. Just like, you don’t throw your child away just because he did something wrong.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.1 John 3:1
I know God loves me. I have no doubts about that, but the times when it becomes very real and personal are the difficult times. For instance, when I make a mistake and feel unworthy. When I “fell” into sin (I prefer to use the past tense) when I go through a rough patch. The fact that the Holy Spirit is always there to remind and guide me, to speak to me, to comfort and strengthen me is all the reassurance I need.
You may never understand or experience the love of God to the fullest if you have not given your life to Christ. That is if you are not born again. Everything I’m talking about here will sound like gibberish, just like the scripture above stated… “the world didn’t love you because they didn’t know me”. Nevertheless, for the curious mind, you need to understand that:
1. God wants us to prosper
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 9:11
This means that, when we go through difficult times in our lives, two things are involved. 1. either the devil just came after you (trials and temptations) just like he did Job or 2. God is about to fulfill another purpose in your life. Either way, if you stand fast in your faith, you will definitely come out with a testimony. I believe this is one of the reasons the bible said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything, give thanks unto God…”.
2. God wants us to be justified
So he offered us righteousness as a free gift. A gift we can only accept after we have accepted him into our lives through our faith confession and believe in His son Jesus Christ.
For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)Romans 5:17
3. God’s love for us is not easily angered
God loves us so much that he is not easily angered by our sins. While there are people who have evoked the wrath of God against themselves like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, God forgives us when we acknowledge our sins and retrace our steps back to him.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.Psalm 86:15
4. God’s love endures forever
God never stops loving us.
Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.Psalm 136:26
Even when we reject him. He stands knocking at our door, hoping we would open it for him to come inside. He is ever forgiving, ever so kind, ready to takes us back as soon as we open our hearts to him.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.Ephesians 2:4-5
5. God’s love makes us victors in life
It is important to know who’s son/daughter you are. Do you remember in movies when people realize their real parents are royalty or wealthy, how that changes their perspective and even behavior? Yes! Understanding that you serve a God who is the king of kings and Lord of lords; whose love for you is everlasting changes your perspective in life. You understand who you are – a king’s kid, created to reign and rule in life. You can’t be down and under, no matter what life throws at you, you always win and come out victorious.
37. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39. neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:37-39
6. God’s love enables us to love others
God’s love empowers us. Yes! I say empower because, normally, it is hard to love those who have wronged us, but God’s love empowers us to rise above hatred. That is why as a child of God, it is not in our nature to hate people. You can dislike certain character traits in their lives, but to utterly condemn and hate others is not godly at all.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.1 John 4:7-11
7. God’s love brought eternal life
It is because of God’s love that we can boast of eternal life. Through the gift of salvation, by the death and resurrection of Christ, we have the gift of eternal life. We have hope of a glorious life beyond death… beyond this world.
For God so loved the world, that who so ever believed in him should not perish, but have eternal life.John 3:16
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
Like I mentioned earlier, if you are not born again, everything I have said here will sound like gibberish. You can only understand God’s love through the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things, and you can only have the Holy Spirit if you are born again.
I don’t know what you are going through or what you have gone through that may have turned your heart away from God thinking he doesn’t love you, I want to reassure you that God loves you, even now. All you have to do is accept his love… confess it and invite him to take over your heart, mind, and spirit. The Holy Spirit is there to reveal God’s love in the most unique way to you… a way that only you can understand and recognize.
If you are not born again and would love to give your life to Christ now, take this confession,
O Lord God, I believe with all my heart in Jesus Christ, Son of the living God. I believe He died for me and God raised Him from the dead. I believe He is alive today. I confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life from this day. Through Him and in His name, I have eternal life; I am born again. Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul! I am now a child of God. Hallelujah!