God Sends His Love
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
I went for a long time, years really, where I couldn’t perceive God’s love for me. In my quest for answers, I often asked my pastor, “How do I know that God loves me?” My pastor always came back to the fact that Christ died for me. While that answer was true, it wasn’t particularly satisfying. Christ died for everyone else, too. God loved “the world,” but did He love me?
If you have ever wondered, as I have, if God loves you, you know that His love can seem distant and impersonal. We know that somewhere “out there” God loves us, but here and now we struggle to feel God’s love for us. We tend to think of God loving “the world” as in John 3:16. By extension, we acknowledge that we are included in that set, though it seems impersonal. We know that Christ died for us, but He died for everyone else too.
Seeking an answer to my question, I immersed myself in the study of God’s Word, looking up every verse about God’s love. But while I learned about God’s love, I still didn’t feel it. I could see how God interacted with different people in the Bible so I knew that God loved Abraham, Moses, and David, but did He love me? Then I began to realize that God did not just love them as part of the collective, “the world,” but as individuals. His love was demonstrated in the unique relationship He had with each of them. God interacted in specific ways to respond to their situations: to ease their doubts, to give them faith and courage, or whatever they needed as an individual.
God wanted to respond to me in the same way. I began to bring Him my doubts, fears, heartaches, and problems. As God responded in specific ways, relating to me personally, no longer felt that God loved me only as part of the collective. God didn’t just love the world; He loved me.
The question “What’s God done for me lately?” might seem like self-centered ingratitude, but perhaps it expresses the deepest longing of our heart to be in a relationship that is personally relevant and dynamic. We don’t want a “once upon a time” story about what God did for us two thousand years ago; we want to experience a dynamic relationship with God on a daily basis. We want a page-turner that keeps us engaged from beginning to end with love, drama, constant action, and everpresent hope in spite of impossible circumstances.
Still, in order for us to experience a dynamic love story today, we must go back two thousand years ago to the events of the cross that made our love relationship with God possible. Two men walking home from Jerusalem discussed the unfolding drama that occurred during the Passover. Jesus, whom they had hoped to be the Messiah, had been crucified, and now there were rumors of His resurrection. On the way, a fellow traveler, a man they didn’t immediately recognize, joined them and explained all the things the Scriptures said concerning the Messiah. The events of this journey are recorded in Luke 24, and while we don’t know the details of the travelers’ dialogue, we do know that they discussed the various promises of God in the Old Testament regarding the Messiah He would send. Like the Emmaus travelers, we will see how the events of Christ’s death and resurrection make it possible to experience a dynamic relationship with God on a daily basis.
This excerpt was taken from Best Friends with God: Falling in Love with the God Who Loves You
©2010 by Christy Bower
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Discovery House Publishers
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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