To the questioner:
You see the giant highway signs that proclaim, “God Loves You!” but doubt those words could apply to you. Or maybe you grew up singing, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know,” but recent events have made you question the truth of those lyrics. It could be a great sadness has visited your life and now you wonder about everything you’ve ever believed.
First, let me reassure you, dear friend, that you are not alone in your questions. In this broken world we often find ourselves groping through a fog of doubt and confusion. We long for clarity, yet our hearts struggle to grab onto certainty.
But even while your current path seems to lead through clouds of doubt, God walks right beside you. He knows our frail human natures and never leaves us even when we have difficulty believing that. How comforting to know that His love doesn’t depend on our trust. God’s love is not like the Tinkerbelle fairy in Peter Pan who begins to fade away and is only revived by the audience’s faith in her. His affection for us stays true and certain whether we have the strength to believe that or not. God’s love never wavers or diminishes.
Because God knows your doubts and misgivings, He has written you a love letter. Throughout His Word, the Bible, He has left us messages of His affection for you. Picture a World War II wife who longs to see her soldier husband. She misses his daily presence and when months go by without a word from him she begins to wonder if he still loves her. Does he think about her? Or has he found someone else in some far off country? To silence her doubts she pulls out past letters. As she reads and rereads, her doubts begin to melt. The person who wrote those words would never abandon her. In that same way, we can open up God’s love letter to us to quiet our questioning hearts and restore our confidence in the God of love.
To help you find the words that will renew your trust in God’s love, ask yourself why these doubts have come.
Do you feel that a perfect God could never love imperfect you? Of course He could love the woman next door who has her act together. But you? He probably sees the sticky kitchen floor, the argument you had with your husband, and the pounds you’ve put on and look right past you. If that’s how you feel, read Psalm 107:7-8, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (NIV). God specializes in loving the imperfect. He looks for the thirsty, the hungry, the ones who need Him. God sees our messy homes, our messy lives and still holds out His open arms. You don’t need to clean up your life or put on makeup to cover your flaws before He accepts and adores you.
Do you feel that God could never love you because of what you’ve done? Maybe you have a past you want to hide. Or you’ve recently crossed a line you swore you would never cross. You think: Surely, this disqualifies me from God’s love. But look again in God’s love letter to you. There, you’ll find, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV). Jesus knew our shortcomings, saw our sinful hearts, was aware of every bad thing we would do, and still loves us. He loves us enough not to leave us entangled in the sins in which He found us. He took the punishment we deserved so we could live in His love forever.
Do you wonder if God still loves you because of what is happening in your life? On the days when the sun is shining, your best friend calls up just to say hello, and the handbag you’ve been wanting is on sale, it’s not so hard to believe in a loving God. But on the days when wind and rain pummel you as you walk through the office parking lot, your boyfriend dumps you, and your friends don’t return your calls, you seriously question if God notices you, much less loves you. That’s when you need the truth of God’s love letter, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 ESV). Nothing can separate us from God’s love. That fact may be difficult to see when your heart is breaking. But God’s love never changes. Hang on to that promise.
Do you doubt God’s love because you feel you don’t deserve it? Maybe you think: Sure, God loves people like Mother Theresa who do great things for Him. I haven’t done anything worthy of His love and attention. How could He love small, insignificant me? God’s love letter erases these thoughts when we read, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5 ESV). We don’t do anything to obtain God’s love. He freely pours it into our hearts. He gives us the Holy Spirit who continually whispers God’s affection into the ears of our souls. He showers us with Christ’s love and then we respond.
Do you doubt God’s love because you think He must be like everyone else who has let you down? Maybe your parents didn’t come through when you needed them. Teachers who should have cared didn’t even notice you. Boyfriends only took advantage of you. Why would God be any different? But God tells you of His unending love: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3 ESV). People often let us down. Their love may disappear. But God’s everlasting love never changes. His faithfulness means you can always count on Him no matter how many times people have disappointed you before.
Dear friend, when you feel like you’re walking through a fog of doubt, grasping for God’s love but unsure it’s even there, remember this: God walks right beside you. He will hold your hand even in the uncertainty. You may not see Him through the cloud but He’s there. He invites you to open your heart and tell Him all about your questions. Then He’ll invite you to read His love letter once again so you can know His steadfast love. A love not contingent on your perfection or accomplishments. A love not discouraged by your sin. A love not defined by your feelings or perception. A love unlike any other—one so strong that it will never fail or falter.
God’s love is no shallow, insignificant, cold, or vague idea thing. For just an appetizer of what the Bible tells us about God’s love, we’re told God’s love is better than life (Ps. 63:3). Only by tasting God’s love can we then pass on His love to others (1 John 4:16). It’s described as precious or priceless, a strong refuge we can hide in (Ps. 36:7). God’s love is enduring (Ps. 136; 1 Chron. 16:34), unfailing (Ps. 107:8-9; 109:26; Is. 54:10), everlasting (Jer. 31:3), undeserved and unmerited (Rom. 5:8), generous and gracious (John 1:12; 3:16), lavished on us (Rom. 5:5), sacrificial and selfless (John 15:13), compassionate (Ps. 86:15), covenantal and faithful (Deut. 7:9), caring (1 Peter 5:7), patient (Ps. 86:15), and forgiving (Neh. 9:17). As we think about God’s love, let’s allow the Bible to inform our understanding of this rich and life-giving reality that belongs to us as God’s children.
God’s love is gracious.
God’s love is unmerited, undeserved, and unprovoked, meaning God does not love us because of anything good, lovely, or desirable in us. God chooses to love us despite how far from Him we are as finite creatures, despite our sinfulness, weakness, and frailty, and the many ugly things He sees in us each day. God’s gracious love is a free and undeserved gift. Paul writes, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
God’s love is steadfast.
God’s love is a committed, covenantal, unbreakable, and unchanging love. God’s love is steady. It does not wane or waver over time, depending on how we act, or change from one day to the next. This is one of the most common descriptions of God’s love in the Bible (see Ps. 136; 63:3; Ezra 3:11-12; Lam. 3:22-23; Is. 54:10). God does not change His mind, His commitment, or His affections to the children in His family. We never have to worry about God losing His patience with us and abandoning us, throwing in the towel, or ignoring us. Not now, not ever.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Ekaterina Budinovskaya
Sharla Fritz is a Christian author and speaker who weaves honest and humorous stories into life-changing Bible study. Author of Enough for Now: Unpacking God’s Sufficiency, Sharla writes about God’s transforming grace. Sharla lives in the Chicago suburbs with her amusing pastor husband. Connect with Sharla at www.sharlafritz.com