Are you sure God loves you? (A Valentine’s Devo)
February 13, 2021
Most Christians know the song “Jesus loves me this I know…” from Sunday school. In fact, most consider the idea of God’s love for people so basic that they assume “everyone knows.” But do they really?
I thought about this recently when I found myself wrestling with worry and uncertainty. As I rolled my concerns over and over in my head, I realized that I was thinking as though I were alone. I was not considering God, his presence or influence, just myself and what needed to happen for my fears to be allayed. Yet if you had asked me about God’s love for me, I would have told you that God is a loving father who protects and provides for his children, all biblically correct descriptions but given my responses to my concerns, obviously without full conviction.
For most of us, there is a wide gap between our (head) belief in God’s love and our (heart) knowledge of it. This problem is rooted largely in our experience, particularly how we interpret unpleasant experiences. Far too often, we mistakenly view our pain, disappointments and setbacks as evidence of God’s neglect, disinterest or indifference. Hardship and unmet expectations often get us thinking that if God is there at all, maybe he is not really for us. This sense of uncertainty or uneasiness about God’s presence and disposition towards us lingers over our lives and affects our behavior. We hesitate, worry and fear more because we are not really sure that God has our backs, and we live with all the courage of the willowy little boy who believes he must face the school bully alone.
Thankfully, the apostle Paul provides an extraordinary example of a person who had a deep knowledge of God’s love that Christians can emulate.
Paul knew that God loved him and nothing on earth could ever separate him from that love (Rom. 8:38-39). With his life fully surrendered to God and his purposes, Paul knew that the God who had called him would provide everything he needed to fulfil his purpose, so he never worried about his needs.
He interpreted blocked paths as God’s leading and was not frustrated by them (Acts 16:6-10); he did not fear death because he knew his life was ultimately in God’s hands (Acts 27:21-25). If he didn’t get something, he figured he didn’t need it; if he was persecuted, that was just part of his calling. He believed God was for him (Rom. 8:31) and in God’s loving hands, everything was working for his good anyway (Rom. 8: 38-39).
Paul’s knowledge of God’s love gave him confidence, the kind of unshakable sense of security that made fulfilling his difficult calling possible.
May God fill us all with a knowledge of his love so that we may live courageously and walk fearlessly.
Happy Valentine’s Day!