What Do You Mean, ‘God Loves You?’
Blog post from the podcast transcript of episode 002
During the first episode of the podcast, I often referred to God’s love for you as one of our core beliefs. Yet it dawned on me that many of you may struggle with the idea that God loves you, much less wants a relationship with you. The pain of life and the traumas of existence have left you feeling both unloved and unheard.
WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE TALK ABOUT GOD’S LOVE
When looking at God’s love, surprisingly we can go back to the very first pages of the Old Testament where we are given a glimpse of God’s thoughts and longings as he designed the first man and woman.
I understand some of you may hold to beliefs other than a literal creation. I respect you in your opinion, but please follow me a few moments as though listening to a story. I’m going somewhere you may not expect.
God’s love was portrayed in his choices toward humanity
Nothing was left out as God carefully took earth and sculpted the man’s body from the pattern of his own being, both in image and likeness. As he finished, he placed his mouth over man’s lifeless lips and exhaled God-life into his lungs, and man became a living soul. Later, so the man would have someone like himself, God formed the woman from Adam’s side, for his delight, their mutual enjoyment, and for procreating and ruling his new earth. God stepped back and for a moment viewed his new designs as though looking at a finished masterpiece. The Bible states that “God saw all that he had made and it was very good.”
Questions to ponder as you consider this scene from Genesis one and two:
- Are you an artist or designer? Maybe a baker or possibly a writer? Maybe a new mom or dad? If so, what did it feel like when that which was only in your imagination became real?
- Relate this to how God must have felt in that moment and those first days of Adam and Eve’s lives. Could there be similarities?
- How could the choices God made as he fashioned the man and woman show his love for them?
However, the Bible states that he only spoke the rest of creation into being, period. Only the man and woman were created in his image, and only they received God’s breathe of life making them living souls.
Further questions to ponder:
- Even if you believe otherwise if you were God why would you go to all the effort to make something so like you and so different from everything else you had made?
- Could it be that all humanity was made with a special place in God’s heart? Could it be that they were made for a different purpose and plan from the rest of creation?
- Could it be that God created humanity, including you, in a way to be able to relate and enjoy a relationship filled with his love?
God’s love chose to allow us to choose
With Adam and Eve in mind, God’s love created a garden, unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and placed them in it. He filled it with only good things.
For their protection, he gave them one rule and warning not to eat from the tree called “The Knowledge of Good and Evil.” My paraphrase: I’ve given you every good tree to eat and enjoy, and every flowering plant. But that tree – it’s bad and eating its fruit will kill you.
I imagine some of you are now asking, “If that tree was so bad, why would a loving God include it in his garden? Great question!
It would have been easier and less painful for God had he just programmed humanity like robots to return his love train them to obey his one command. God had every opportunity to do so.
Questions to consider:
- In wanting a healthy loving relationship, can you deny the other party the ability to choose or reject you? What is it called when relationships are forced?
- Could it be that God’s love provided the forbidden tree to offer the man and woman the freedom of choice?
- Could it be that God did so not to force them to love and obey him as God but to offer the man and woman (and therefore all of us) a chosen relationship with him?
- However, what is the possible result when offering someone the ability to choose? Have you ever been in the position of being the one rejected? Can you use this experience to relate to how God must have felt as he placed that tree in the garden, knowing what they would choose?
Within a short time, the man and woman were shown the beauty and desirability of the forbidden tree by a talking snake and chose to eat from it because they came to believe that a proper choice required them to know all the options. They were told and chose to believe the tree they’d been forbidden to eat from offered things their good God had forgotten to provide.
Before they ate the fruit from this tree, all they’d experienced was God’s goodness. Yet as soon as they ate the forbidden fruit, their newfound knowledge of evil caused them to immediately begin to experience evil and everything that comes with it. Death. Destruction. Pain. Heartache. Brokenness.
Love means even God feels the pain of our choices
The tree was no threat to anyone if left alone. The talking snake was inconsequential as long as it was ignored and they followed God’s loving warning. However, as soon as they disregarded God’s warning and chose their own way, defiance against God caused evil to enter the world, and marred all of God’s creation through its natural consequences. Evil entered humanity’s core and destroyed their desire for God. Like an addict looking for a fix, feeding their passions became their goal as they died inside to all that was holy and good.
We make the same choices daily to disregard God’s warnings and do as we please, with the same effects.
Going our own way as Adam and Eve once did leads us down a road away from knowing, seeing, and being loved by the God who made us. And since all goodness still comes from God, the only way to experience goodness void of the effects of evil is to return to him. For apart from God there is no good thing.
Questions to ponder:
- How would you feel if you designed and created a magnificent piece of art, or built a building beyond anything made before, and someone came along and marred it beyond recognition? What would you want to do to them?
- Can you use your feelings to relate to how God had every right to feel when Adam and Eve’s choice brought pain and suffering into his pristine, spotless, pain and shame-free world?
Some of you may be asking, “Is that why God gave up on us?” No, friend. God never gave up.
God’s love chose to forgive and restore their relationship
Moments after their devastating choice, God stepped in and decreed that one day a champion would come and set all things right. And no matter how the world or God’s people treated him, throughout the rest of the Old Testament God continued to proclaim the champion was still coming to bring forgiveness and restoration of relationship with God.
And in the proper time, Jesus, God’s son, someone born like us but without rebellion came to fight on our behalf. He came to bring life and light into a very dark world. He lived as God’s representative full of love and faithfulness. He dwelled among his people as God had always wanted. He then gave his life for all who knew they needed rescuing so that we can experience what it’s like to be known, seen, and loved by the God who made us for this very purpose.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NLT)
God’s love longs for you to choose him by reaching out for his Son Jesus. He still offers each of us the choice to choose or reject him with all its consequences. Love must give us a choice.
The Soul Cries Core Values
Love, Commitment, and Relationship bringing Hope. God loves you unconditionally and longs for you to experience the beauty of a committed relationship with him through his Son Jesus. The totality of his Word and the life of his Son is the fullest expression of his passionate love for you.
But he waits until you desire the same with him. Healthy, loving relationships always set boundaries. No one wants to share their intimacy with a third party, and so God won’t be used or taken for granted. Nor will he share you with the evil and rebellion that mar his world daily through our rebellious choices against him.
However, if you at some point wish to begin a loving relationship with God, your commitment to seek him above all else will unleash powerful lavish gifts for you to experience with him. And some of his greatest gifts will be to empower, strengthen, and give you hope as he walks with you through this world’s pain.
May I please pray for you?
Dear Lord, I come to you on behalf of this dear one. You see their pain and you care about every tear they’ve cried silently in the darkness of their own space. You see their hopelessness and longing to be embraced right where they are. I ask in Jesus’ name that you meet them where they stand, with whatever questions they have, and let them know that you are real and that you love them beyond compare. Please powerfully express your love to them right now in a way they will comprehend. Thank you, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Your next steps
Ready to take steps toward experiencing God’s love in a relationship with him?
Are you willing to look further into the matter? If so, then a simple conversation with God may go something like this, “God, if you’re real, give me a reason to live and I’ll serve you.” Many years ago my husband prayed such a prayer as he contemplated suicide. He later stated that instantly he was filled with peace and knew God was real and had heard his cry. It radically changed his life forever.
And so you know, one of our free resources, a very short Bible study about building healthy relationships with God and people (with short Bible passages and questions similar to the ones you found here) can be obtained for free through a subscription to the monthly newsletter. Head over to the home page to click the link entitled Resources.
Want to dialogue further about your questions and doubts?
If you aren’t yet ready to commit to anything with God but would like to discuss your questions and doubts, there are several ways in which we can dialogue. Throughout the website, there are ways to contact me through email. You also may leave a comment at the end of this post and I can get back to you. I’d love to begin a chat about any questions and doubts. It’s a safe place here. We will offer the truth, but we force no one. God gave us all the gift of choice, and we honor that.
You will always be respected and honored, because God’s love for you is as real today as it was when he made you.