I know it seems like a ridiculous question to many of you: “Does God love me no matter what?” For a lot of you the ability to accept God’s love for what it is doesn’t present any problems. You think, “Of course He loves you, He died for you!”
But I have a feeling there are others (probably a lot of others) who totally get it. My gut tells me there are quite a few of us who have wrestled with feeling unlovable for a lot of our lives. I’m not going to pretend my own struggles in this area have completely resolved. Likely, I will continue to fight these feelings for as long as I live. But in recent years God has revealed so much to me about His love. He’s helped me understand it in new ways, and I’m having a much easier time believing it is deep and unconditional and I finally KNOW God loves me personally. It is my hope that in sharing my story, you will find some encouragement so you can learn to believe in the truth of God’s love in your own.
Last year (2016), when I first found out about some of my husband’s infidelities, I felt a lot of things. The most overwhelming, though, was the feeling that there was something wrong with me. I was feeling unlovable. As is often the case, the details of my childhood contributed to these feelings and caused me to believe I was unloved.
I would often wonder, if I had been better, or if I had done things that were more pleasing, would things have turned out differently? So when I got married I resolved to pour all of myself into our marriage. I was going to give it my very best and to love with my whole heart so I would never have to wonder, “what if I had just…”
And still, it wasn’t enough.
I would sit and wonder, “What is it? What’s missing in me that causes the people who are supposed to love me to go another way? What is it that makes them all choose other things? Why isn’t my heart worth protecting? What makes me so unlovable?”
And then, that line of thinking would turn into questions about God.
I would think about how the Bible says God is like a good father who would never give the child He loves something bad when she was asking for something good. How it says He would never give her a stone when she asked for bread, for instance. Then I would think about all the time I had spent asking God for a healthy marriage that honors Him and brings glory to Him, and suddenly it sort of felt like God was giving me the proverbial stone!
“Maybe He doesn’t really love me,” I would think. “Perhaps I’m NOT the child he loves. Maybe I’m so messed up, SO unlovable that even God can’t love me.”
So DOES God Love Me No Matter What?
Friends, there just isn’t anything good that comes from thinking like that. Unfortunately, I went a lot deeper into the pit before deciding to surrender to truth. I listened to that crafty liar (the enemy of our souls) as he even used Scripture to tempt me to believe his lies.
For more months than I would like to admit I wallowed as I read my Bible, finding passages like Jeremiah 29:11, (you know, the one about God’s plans for us being to prosper and not to harm us?) and as I read them I would think, “Liar. (Yeah, I called God a liar and I’m still here! I’m so thankful I serve a God who is patient with me, and who is faithful even when I am not!) How is this prospering me? This is harming me! Your plans for me are harming me. There is no future and no hope for my marriage, You are a liar!”
If you think I felt unlovable before, I REALLY felt unlovable after talking to God like that! I have never been more miserable in all my life than I was during those terrible months!
However, despite the fact that I was questioning everything and acting like an obstinate child, (throwing a tantrum, and facing off with my Daddy) I never stopped reading the Bible during that time. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever spent more time in the Word than I did during those months. I found myself in Job one day, considering what had happened there.
Job did nothing wrong. In fact, the Bible says he was blameless! I’m certainly not blameless, but I found the phrasing comforting. The terrible things that happened to Job weren’t because there was something lacking in Job. In fact, it was quite the opposite. God allowed Job to face the trials that he endured BECAUSE he was so righteous. It was to prove that his faith was not circumstantial. To prove that Job believed God because of who God is, not because of what God had given him. It takes big faith to stand firm in the midst of trials like that and God had confidence in Job – the child He LOVED!
I was so encouraged by that thought! Maybe… He loved me too?
How do I Know God Loves Me Personally?
Not too long after that I came across Romans 8:31-32:
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son, but gave Him up for us all…
Do you see what I saw in that moment? I jumped over and read the accounts of Jesus just before he went to the cross. You know, when he was in the garden, praying. He was asking His Father to take the cup of suffering from Him. To spare Him. My Lord and Savior was dreading the awful pain He was going to have to endure in order to accomplish the will of God and fulfill the plan.
Now I don’t know about you, but I have never doubted God’s love for Jesus. I’ve doubted a lot of things, but I’ve never doubted that. I’ve also never thought, even for a second, the pain Jesus endured on the cross was a result of anything wrong with Him. He was perfect. And yet, Romans says that God did not spare even Him from enduring the pain that would bring redemption to the world.
And yet, in the face of that pain, Jesus did not whine and moan. He didn’t doubt His Father’s love. He simply came to Him in humility and asked, “If it’s possible, find another way.” And then finished it off with, “But not my will, but Yours be done.”
Wow! In that moment, I knew God was speaking right to me. He was showing me proof that trials and suffering are not indicators of His disfavor. It was such a tender and intimate moment. It reassured me that I really can know God loves me personally!
How could I not trust Him through my pain in light of that?
This is How We Know God Loves Us
You know the story of Peter walking on the water? Do you remember what happened? He looked at the waves and suddenly started to sink. He took his eyes off Jesus and found his faith floundering. Then, before he could sink beneath the water for good, he reached out, took the hand of his Savior, and was able to resurface.
I don’t really remember the exact moment when I reached out for His hand. I wish I did. But I know that as I contemplated those scriptures something in me finally broke. Something in me grabbed ahold of the Truth of Scripture and looked the devil square in the face and said,
“No! YOU are the liar! I am choosing to believe God. He says in His word that He loves me. He says that He is working ALL THINGS together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purposes. I may not see how this is for my good right now, I may not understand what He’s doing, but I DO love Him, and I AM called according to His purposes. So He IS working for my good! The Bible says, ‘This is love: not that we loved God, but that HE LOVED US and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.’ This is how we know God loves us! I’m going to believe Him. God DOES love me no matter what! He died for me. Now get behind me Satan!”
BOOM! Drop the mic!
Why Does God Love Us?
At that moment, the change in my heart was palpable. In the months that followed I began to hear God’s voice again when I read scripture, I began to feel His sustaining power in my situation. I began to trust that whatever He was doing in my life, I could trust Him to provide whatever I needed not only to face it, but to thrive in spite of it. What a difference it made! My prayer life changed, my attitude towards my husband changed, everything about me changed. I no longer felt defeated. I felt empowered. God loved me!! Nothing else mattered.
And a few months ago, when I found myself facing the horrifying betrayal of my love’s infidelities once again, I cried out to God in my brokenness with a new attitude. I looked to my loving Father and I cried, “Oh, God, why? I just want someone to love me. I want someone to CHOOSE me!”
And as tangibly as if He had spoken the words aloud my God called me by name, “Cherith, my dearly loved daughter,” He said, I chose you!”
My friend, if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, He has chosen you too! He died to save you, and from all the people on earth He has chosen to make you His own! This is how we Know God loves us, and no one and no thing can ever separate us from that love. It is secure, it is eternal, and it is without condition.
Let’s never forget it.
Let’s never doubt it
And when we’re feeling unlovable, let’s speak truth into those lies! How do I know God loves me personally? Because He gave His life to save mine. He took the punishment I deserved. I did nothing to earn it. So does God love me no matter what? You better believe He does!