For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Most, in their heart of hearts, don’t believe that God loves them. We can’t fathom that the God of the universe has positive thoughts toward us moment by moment and every day. We struggle with conceptualizing the enduring, sacrificial, infinite, and unconditional love of our Heavenly Father.
I think this is because we always try to put God’s love into our own human terms – and our terms always fall far short. Our human relationships have conditioned us to measure love by “if’s,” “maybe’s,” and “because’s.” “I’ll love you if you do this.” Or, “I love you because you did that.”
Most of us struggle with even imagining that a love without some sort of condition even exists. Yet God wants us not only to know that such a love exists, but also really believe it and receive it.
Beloved, God does love you. Unconditionally. What does that mean? He loves you as you are, right now, as you read this. He loves you, no matter the mess you are in, the hurt you carry, the broken relationships around you – He loves you no matter what! God’s love is so deep, so beyond our understanding, the apostle Paul had to be persuaded by the Lord of His love for him. Remember, Paul? He was Saul, the murdering, legalistic, zealous Pharisee! He wrote to the Romans, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
God’s thoughts, intentions, desires and plans are always for our good and never for our harm. (Jeremiah 29:11; James 1:17) The Infinite Being of the universe is for us, not against us. No matter how the immediate surroundings may look, God sees the big picture and has plans specially designed for our benefit.
God is kind, open, approachable, and deeply longs to be with you. (John 13:12-15) He longs to hear everything that we’re going through and everything that’s going on. He wants to share His life and His heart with us.
God identifies with your pain, joy, hopes and dreams and has chosen to allow your happiness to affect His own. The God of the Universe knows when we’re depressed and when we’ve lost a loved one. Our pain causes Him pain, and our joys give Him joy. And when there is tragedy in our lives, He weeps with us – just as Jesus wept with his friends when Lazarus died.
He takes pleasure in you just for who you are, completely apart from your performance and accomplishments. (Psalm 139; Zeph. 3:17; Romans 5:8) Even if you and I had never done anything since we were born, God would take pleasure in us simply because of who we are!
In my own life, I’ve really struggled to believe and receive this truth. I assumed that God loved me only when I was performing and achieving. I was totally wrong! So, what brought the change in me?! Simply by the grace of God. Paul wrote to Titus and explained this transforming truth, “In grace our Savior God appeared, to make his love for mankind clear. He came to save us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy – through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:4-5) God loved us so much that He sent His only Son, His grace to become a man to show us this amazing, real, unconditional love that God has for us.
Like Paul, when I sat with the Lord and listened to Him plead with me the case of His love, I was persuaded. I changed my mind about who God is, and what He was like. Once I repented about God (Acts 20:21), He flooded me with His love, grace, mercy, and goodness. It transformed me instantly, and He wants to do this for you, right now!
My experience with Christians is that we all struggle with God’s love to some degree. Many of us believe that we have to earn God’s favor. We think, “I read my Bible, so He loves me.” Or, “Things aren’t going so well, so it must be because I’m not doing it right.”
This passage in Zephaniah can help us overcome this faulty thinking: “The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save and deliver. He will quiet you with His love and rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) In this passage, God tells a rebellious people that He actually stands over them singing and rejoicing, like a mother sings over her children to calm them down.
No matter where we’re at or how bad we may have blown it, the truth of God’s love is that the Creator of all things is with us. As a believer in Jesus Christ, His Spirit dwells inside of us. And He wants to deliver us and quiet the stress, mend the brokenness, and make us whole with a love that’s not contingent on our performance.
Romans 5:8 also reminds us of this truth. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In spite of our sinfulness, God demonstrated His love by sending Christ to die for us.
God’s love is unconditional, it’s free, and all we have to do to experience it is accept it, and rejoice in it. Let’s stop trying to earn God’s love and let ourselves experience it!