The Godhead Together
God loves every person, no matter who we are or what we’ve done, with a limitless, unconditional love. He doesn’t think one person is more beautiful or handsome than another: to Him we are all attractive, carefully crafted in our uniqueness by His own hand. Whatever your personality is, He really likes it. He made all personalities, and not one of them is more acceptable in His sight than another. Your self esteem may register at a -100, but God’s love for you registers at a +1,000,000.
If you are not a Christian, you have not yet experienced God’s love in its fullest sense — but you can. Read John’s gospel in the Bible to get a beginning picture of God’s love for you. Knowing and having fellowship with Him all hinges on accepting His Son, Jesus. A prayer as simple as, “God, I believe in Jesus, and I want to know You with all my heart. Please help me,” will get you going in a relationship with Him. Billy Graham’s website provides a simple explanation (but with more detail than I have given here) of how to know God, and they even provide a prayer for you, if you feel that you need assistance. Or, my You Can Know God page can get you started.
If you are a Christian, you know that God gave the ultimate proof of His love when Jesus laid down His life at the cross for us. You probably have John 3:16 memorized. The problem is, even after hearing it our whole lives, many of us still struggle with whether He really loves us — each of us individually — or not. This could be because of traumatic circumstances that have taken place in our lives, including parents who did not exhibit love toward us, or people who claimed to know God and represent Him, yet behaved unkindly. When terrible things happen, people often question, “If God loves me, why did He let this happen to me?” God understands and does not condemn such questions. He is hovering near, ready to comfort you in those hurting times, if you ask Him to.
Sometimes, it is difficult to believe God loves us because of harsh, incorrect teaching in the Church itself. I was once at a church service where the pastor literally preached that God beats us because He’s a good Father Who “lovingly” disciplines us. He then encouraged everyone to come to the altar and repent so that God could beat the sin out of us. Seriously. In my heart, I ran — but it wasn’t to the altar! Such perverted views of God’s nature originate in hell.
If we are to know the truth about God’s love (or any of His other character traits), we must put what the Bible has to say above whatever circumstances we may experience in life. All of us, at some point or other, hit rough seas, and it can be hard to feel the love of God at those times. It is then that we must exercise faith that God is still with us and that He will take care of us — because His Word says so.
When your mother or father have been unloving parents, Psalm 27:10 says, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” When you feel like friends or family have abandoned you, Hebrews 13:5 assures us, “… For he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Apostle Paul knew what it was to suffer great troubles multitudes of times, yet he knew that God loved him through it all, and he encouraged the rest of us, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).
If you are struggling with sensing God’s love for you, spend time reading the gospel of John and also 1 John. Ask God to reveal His love personally to you. He wants to answer that prayer.
Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.