This past weekend, a young woman asked me:
“OK so, how do you know God loves you? Besides ‘He sent His Son to die for us.’ I have grown up in a Christian home pretty much ALL my life and I'm just not seeing God. Like I know He sent His Son and stuff, but because I go to church every Sunday and Wednesday it's seems like I am becoming desensitized as to how wonderful that really is. And now I'm not so sure I want to believe God, but out of all the things to believe in, to me Christianity makes the most sense. God seems so distant.”
I feel wholly inadequate to give this teen all the answers she needs and convince her of God’s deep love for her. In fact, I can often feel unloved by God myself. I figured you might be able to relate, too . . .
As much as I would like to give this young woman what she wants (some assurance of God’s love besides “He sent His Son to die for us”), I cannot. This is exactly what proves His love is real, substantive, and sturdy! That’s what God tells us in His Word, anyway, in 1 John 4:8-10. Let me unpack these verses and explain why.
John says God manifest or proved or “put skin” on His love for you when He sent His most treasured Son into a world that didn’t love or want Him.
Why? So that you might really LIVE! through Him. Not just for a few years on this earth, but with Him forever.
How did God’s Son give you this life? At great cost to Himself . . . He acted as the sacrifice on your behalf, absorbed all of God’s wrath toward all of your sin, and turned it into favor for you!
You Are Loved By God! In fact, Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection are what opened the door for you to have a relationship with God your Father, who has now adopted you into His family. This isn’t about choosing a religion that makes the most sense—this is about being brought back into relationship with the very One you rebelled against!
If you’re not feelin’ it, the answer isn’t to make Him prove His love apart from His sacrifice on the cross, but to pour over those moments when He “put skin” to His love and bled and suffered for you, in your place. Let the nuances and details of His love run through your mind continuously—over and over and over.
When you find yourself forgetting or doubting once again, pick up the Word and sit under the cross in wonder. Let His blood wash over you, soaking into every pore. As you do—as you “abide in His love”—you will find yourself knowing and believing the love God has for you.
How about you? What would God have to do to “prove” His love for you? Does His sacrifice for you on the cross seem flat? If so, why? (Please be honest—with me and with Him!)