Sitting in the cold, sterile doctor’s room the words “We found a 5cm tumor and it’s either cancer or lymphoma” left me bewildered.
All I managed to utter was a weak and rather bemused, “Oh.” I’m still not sure whether it was denial or the anesthesia drugs still running a muck in my body, but those life changing words never found a place to land.
Are you kidding me God? After all I’ve done for you?
Is this it? Is it my turn?
Are you even listening? Do you even care?
Maybe you’re not so loving and don’t love me after all.
Having lost my sister to cancer six weeks before and my mum six years before that, you can understand my anger, panic and questioning, and to say the bottom fell out of my world is a British understatement of biblical proportions.
Ironically, given my double-stuffed Oreo sized tumor was up my rear end (yes, it was rectal cancer), not only did the bottom fall out of my world but then the world proceeded to fall out of my bottom. But that’s beside the point!
I knew God could handle my anger but I felt unloved and forgotten by Him.
Maybe you feel that way too.
Perhaps the bottom’s fallen out of your world too with the loss of someone dear to you, the end of a relationship, the foreclosure on your house or you’re struggling with parenting issues there’s no manual for. I get it. All these things leave us feeling forgotten and unloved.
With God’s love we seem to hit one of two problems; either we don’t actually believe He loves us or we believe He loves us but don’t ever feel loved.
We ask If God loves me, why can’t I feel it?
Either way, we end up doubting His love, believing things like.
• I’m different – He doesn’t love me like He loves everyone else
• I’m not good enough – I’ve screwed up in someway
• He’s angry with me
• It’s me, maybe I’m the one who’s different and just can’t feel His love.
Despite the fact I’ve felt and thought all these things I know one thing for sure.
It’s rubbish! Total and utter nonsense!
If I know anything, it’s that God wants us to not just know we are loved but to feel loved.
Because here’s the thing, He’s not just loving, He IS love.
It’s who He is by His very nature. He can’t help it. Just like the chair I’m sitting on is, by its nature, a chair, God IS love. Just take a look as some of these verses in 1 John 3 and 4 to see for you self.
(1 Jn 3:1, 4:7,8,16,18,19)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
When God gave us freewill one of the choices He was giving us was whether to receive His love or not. It’s our choice.
The trouble is, we can receive it in our head but it can get stuck there and never make the long, hard journey from our head to heart.
I’m constantly having to work on letting God’s love into my thick head and then allowing it to sink to my heart, where it can change some of that mind-talk nonsense I believe as soon as life begins to unravel. Will you join me?
Here’s the four steps I’ve come to know really help.
4 steps to not just know God’s love, but feel it.
1. PRAY AND ASK HIM TO SHOW YOU
When we pray and ask Him to show us how loved we are we can be confident that He will because this is what we know when we pray.
• We can be confident God hears our prayers.
“It is with confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (NIV)
• He always answers (think of His answers as being Yes, No, Wait or Guidance).
“He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea.” Psalm 102:17 (NIV)
• Praying helps us not fall back into habits and beliefs/doubts that mess up our lives (which then need more prayer!!)
“Watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation.” Matthew 5:44 (NIV)
• As we pray, we are changed and are more able to discern God’s will for us (which is how we want to pray in the first place). And His will is for us to know how much we are loved
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
When we pray we can ask Him to speak your “language” or in ways that we feel most loved.
If you’re logical you might see it in patterns, shapes and numbers, where as if you’re more emotionally in tune you might feel it emotionally and see it in creation, music, and art, but let’s remember at all times that He is faithful and will show us.
2. EXPECT TO FEEL IT.
I know that sounds bonkers but I really believe high expectations that God will show us His love raise our ability to see and feel God’s love. If we aren’t looking or expecting it we simply won’t see it or feel it.
3. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!
I’m always amazed when I feel His love in ways and places I wouldn’t expect. I expect to feel His love in my quiet time but not when I’m picking up the dog poop in the garden!! But His love for me is in both in equal measure!
4. MEDITATE ON HIS WORDS OF LOVE IN SCRIPTURE.
Write out a few scriptures and think on them during the day. What do they mean to you personally, how does He show you His love in this way, how might you think it applies to others but not you?
I am utterly convinced of God’s love you. That it is passionate, wild, and jealous. That He lavishes it on you freely and desires more than anything that you receive it and feel it, knowing that when we feel His love it begins to change us from the inside out.
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