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“If God loves me so much, why can’t I feel his love?”
I am convinced that the Father’s love through Jesus is a tangible reality in the life of a believer. We may begin this journey by an intellectual conviction that God is love and that he loves all of humanity, but until it becomes a knowable reality in our lives it will be difficult to hold on to when difficult circumstances arise.
But I hesitate to say that’s a feeling, because people then look for God to give them a “feeling” of his love and are often disappointed when that doesn’t happen the way they expect. Here’s a recent email exchange that may shed some light on this dilemma:
I have been asking God to reveal His love to me… and I have been just letting it be what it will be. The greatest struggle I have is wondering where God is. I know He never leaves me or forsakes me. I have the knowledge of that. I’ve just been so very confused. I am finding myself wondering if I’ve somehow been looking for a “feeling” of love as that’s what the religious way taught me. “Do this and you will feel good about your relationship and God’s pleasure over you.” The more I did the closer I felt… the more right I felt, the more godly I felt. You get the picture. So now that I’ve dropped the performance I don’t feel much.
Let me share this from my blog with you? “Today I was reminded of the days I stood outside the door of my child. I longed to go in and get them yet knew if I did it would prolong what they needed—rest. So I waited outside. I was never far from them. I was right there, listening, attentively to the sounds emanating from their tiny bodies. Nothing could stop that. Could it be that on my long nights of pain as I cried out He stood just outside the door waiting, as I did with my own? Could it be it’s what I needed the most? As I remember the days with my own I am left to wonder. Has He been standing outside the door allowing the weariness to take over my soul leading to lead me to a new place of rest? This is a game changer for me.”
Is there an aspect of the religious way that encourages a love based on feelings? Or is that just me? The question I find myself asking is what am I expecting God’s love to look like anyways? I would think this is part of the purging of religion when you’ve been as performing as I have.
That is a game-changer. However, I don’t see God just waiting outside, but actively at work inside to draw your mind and emotions into that space where he makes himself known. That’s where the analogy breaks down. But from our perspective, it might seem like he’s just waiting because we can’t see what he is doing. Knowing his love does not come from performance but in letting him reveal himself however he deems best. It is a process and takes some time because he’s training your spiritual eyes to look in a different direction than they’ve been looking. So, yes, a purging is going on.
Our feelings are important, but they are often misinformed. They always point to something in the way we’re thinking or perceiving life, ourselves, or God. When the perception changes, so will your feelings. As you grow more secure in Father’s love outside of performing you will have more moments of “feeling” his love. It will come in time. All you can do is keep your heart open to the way God is showing himself to you. I suspect some recalibrating is going on. Your feelings were drawn from one source, and God is linking them up to something greater.
While writing this I received a message from a woman in South Africa talking about her own journey. Widowed and sorting out God’s love she wrote this: “Up until I listened to you and Sara I was not-in-denial but dead-numb. Then I cried………. huge sobs…. and now my wings are starting….. to quiver.”
I got goose bumps reading that. We never know what will finally allow everything to fall in place so that his reality becomes tangible in our experience, but when it does your feelings will reflect that reality. So don’t look for God to suddenly give you a feeling as proof of his love. Look for how is love is being shown to you and then your feelings will wrap around that. The knowing creates the feeling; the feeling does not create the knowing.