For a long time, I found it difficult to admit to my Christian friends that I didn’t really feel that God loves me. From the pulpit and the worship songs, I hear about Jesus’ death on the cross being the ultimate proof of His love for you and me. But, when Jesus love is shared among the billions of human beings that exists through out time… it’s hard to feel a “personal” connection. I knew that Jesus loved *US*, but did He love me? If He knew what I was really thinking, would He still like me? DID He like me?! I know, I know… the theological answers to these questions should be straight forward, but I wasn’t looking for a theological answer. I needed an experiential one. And everyone else’s “personal” testimonies only made me want one of my own.
That is quite a pickle of a problem… Experiencing God’s love really required 2 parties’ participation. Namely, me and God. I was willing, but what about God? Was He willing to humor my request?
Little did I know, that was the beginning of my life-long conversation with God… He took my request quite seriously. As I eventually found out, He wasn’t interested in just giving me an experience. He wanted to give me a LIFE-FUL of experiences and interactions with Himself. And I did not realize I had just given God the permission to reconstruct my life… in the most glorious way.
Looking back, nothing dramatic happened over night, but things in my life started to shift. The first area that started to change was the way I communicated with God. In various ways, God started to teach me to “be still and quiet” in my heart and thoughts. Instead of spending prayer time in requests, I sat in silence with God. I stopped trying to “reach” God in my own efforts. And when I stopped, I started to recognize how God was reaching out to me.
Not long after, I was sharing with someone about how I just didn’t feel that God loves me on a personal level. This person replied, “The Bible is full of scriptures where God says He loves you. How come it’s not enough?” Since she was genuinely interested, and didn’t ask it as a rhetorical question, it really got me thinking. With her help, I was able to discover and resolve some of the key issues that contributed to my unbelief.
It’s been 15+ years since I went on this quest with God. And I’m happy to report that I am soaking in God’s deep and intimate love now on a regular basis. God surely answered the deep cry of my heart, but it didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen the way I expected. Really, He could have just given me the quick brush off – “Deal with it, it’s your problem… ” and moved on. But He didn’t. Instead, He took the time to teach me how to be more sensitive to the Spiritual things, brought me the right people and resources, and He was patient with me as I meandered and floundered time and time again. He is fully committed in His relationship with me, much more than I realized.
Perhaps you have some questions for God deep in your heart too. Maybe these questions felt so controversial that you have been keeping them to yourself. Maybe the people you have shared with didn’t have an answer and you’re not sure what to do next. I hope you will consider asking God these questions directly. And when you do, be ready to go on an adventure. Where God will lead you next may look very different from what your friends are doing. That is understandable because this is a personal journey. Don’t be afraid. Let God take the lead, and follow as best as you can. Trust that His Grace and Love are big enough to make up for your wrong turns.
Bon Voyage, my friend.
For more on being still and quiet, see Quietness and Stillness.