Does God Really Love Me?

Perhaps I can only speak for myself, but I think most, if not all of us have had moments when we’ve questioned the love of God. Moments when life didn’t feel fair. Moments when we weren’t quite sure if God was still present. It’s hard not to question the loyalty of God when the unexpected happens. 

When . . .

  • Parents divorce
  • Children who were raised in the church proceed down an unrighteous path 
  • A pastor we love and trust fails us
  • A longing for something good evades us
  • The loss of a loved one is too hard to bear 

Our world is filled with hard to understand situations. We deal with circumstances all the time that seem unfair, but it’s not because God does not love us. The pain and disappointment we experience is the aftermath of this world becoming soaked in sin. Though we know this, we can be tempted to blame God for our disappointments and measure His love by whether we’re experiencing desirable or difficult circumstances. 

Love Is Proven by Action 

In marriage, love is proven by action. I make my husband sugar-cream pie because I love him. My husband kills all the spiders because he loves me. If I ask my husband to help me with something, he does his best to make it happen. We assume that this is how it should work with God: we place a request, and He makes it happen. 

However, basing our perception of God’s love on whether He answers our current requests is not only wrong, it’s dangerous to our faith. Our requests are not always what’s best for us. Therefore, sometimes God’s answer is no. 

My oldest child is a teenager now, and we have yet to say “yes” to his request for a phone. I know it’s hard for him. It’s not an overstatement to say all of his friends have phones and he’s left out. But right now, we don’t feel it’s in his best interest to be responsible for a phone.

Our repeated “no” to his request for a phone doesn’t mean we love him any less. In light of all the contrary evidence, it’d be silly to make that correlation. What about how we daily care for you, son? What about how we provide for you, spend time with you, never miss a game that you’re playing in, cheer you on from the stands, make all your favorite foods, pray over you each night, and tell you daily we love you. Do those things not count?

But that’s exactly what we do to God when we base our belief in His love on the outcome of a prayer request. Just because God doesn’t answer a request in the way we hope doesn’t mean that God loves us any less. Nor does it mean He cares little for how we feel, yet that’s what we’re often quick to assume. Lord, if you really loved me, you would do this for me. 

We make God’s response to our present requests the measuring stick of His love, when God says the true measuring stick is the gospel. 

God’s Love Has Already Been Proven 

We aren’t wrong to assume that love is proven with action, but we are wrong to assume God still needs to prove His love for us with action. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” That someone is Jesus Christ, who while we were yet sinners, came down from heaven and died for us (Rom. 5:8). 

There is no greater love than a holy and righteous God hanging on a cross to pay the penalty for our disgusting sins. Nothing God could do for us today compares with what God has already done for us at Calvary.

When we base God’s love on our present circumstances instead of the gospel, we’re saying the cross isn’t enough. Now you need to do this for me and this and this. Then I’ll know you love me. But how selfish does that sound? God is not a genie in a bottle—He’s the one and only holy and righteous King of kings. 

Faith Is Believing When Circumstances Say Differently

The essence of faith is believing that God is who He says, even when life doesn’t turn out like we thought. Truly, there is no greater testimony than a faith-filled believer who is certain and fixed on the character of God in the midst of difficult circumstances. 

The Bible tells us what is true of God: 

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made (Ps. 145:8–9).

The challenge then is believing that God is who He says, despite our experience of disappointing outcomes and unwanted suffering. 

It’s not our riches or success that give glory to God. God is glorified when we believe in His goodness, even when everything else around us says we shouldn’t. 

It’s what Abraham had to do when Sarah remained barren. It’s what Joseph had to do when an unrighteous decision put him in prison. It’s what Moses had to do when God sent him to Pharaoh. It’s what David had to do when Saul’s pursuit of him felt crushing. And it’s what we have to do as well—believe in the steadfast love of God when circumstances threaten to weaken our faith.

God Still Loves You Even When Life Is Hard 

Our circumstances might change, but God does not. Our roles in this world might change, but God’s role does not. He is still the almighty, merciful, and loving God—who “being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4–5). 

The promises of God are “yes” to those who are in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). The promises of God were “yes” to the Israelites too as they obeyed Him. But that didn’t mean God delivered the Promised Land to them with ease. The Israelites had to trust God. 

After Joshua died there were still portions of the Promised Land that Israel needed to conquer. God did not subdue the land all at once, so He could test them and see if His promises of presence, deliverance, and faithfulness were enough for them. And sadly, they were not. The Canaanites’ iron chariots just looked too scary (see Judges 1), and Israel failed to trust God. 

We too have God’s promises of presence, deliverance, and faithfulness, but are they enough for us? Do we trust God when circumstances tempt us to say otherwise? 

My friend, whatever it is that feels hard for you right now, whatever it is that might be overwhelming or disappointing, I encourage you to trust the Lord. His promises still stand. He has not left you or forsaken you. He is the same good and loving God, whether life is throwing us lemons or lemonade.

Circumstances Do Not Define God

It’s by faith that we believe God is who He says. At times it can be hard, but we can remember the gospel in those moments. In Christ no heartbreak or unfulfilled longing or disappointment or diagnosis or trial can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38–39). 

Circumstances aside, we’ve been sealed for the day of redemption. So no matter what happens between now and then, we can be confident of God’s everlasting love. 

By grace through faith in Jesus Christ, you are dearly loved by God. His love is not a guarantee we will always get what we want, but it is a guarantee we will always get what we need. And what we need most is God, who’s already given Himself fully to us in the person, promise, and presence of Christ. 

God so loved us that He sent His one and only Son. May we never forget it—no matter what happens. 

About the Author

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery is a farmer’s wife and mother of four—or as she likes to say, “President of Home Operations.” Stacey loves teaching women the Bible and along with her family makes her home in the cornfields of Indiana. For more, … read more …

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