He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

1-11-17

Do you remember the moment that first made you wonder if He truly loved you?

I don’t know if I remember the first one. But I remember the first big one, and I can trace the crooked, faltering lines of the rest of them through my past. (Fear has its way of searing itself upon the conscience.)

These are moments when suffering simply appears so nonsensical, that to say it was God-engineered feels cruel. If He is good, we think, He was not great enough to stop this. And if He is great, how can He be good?

As a freshman in college, I tumbled headlong into one of those teetering moments of unbelief. That was the weekend I’d received the phone call: a believing friend of mine—on her way to try on her wedding dress—had fallen victim to a fatal car accident.

Like Psalmists before me, I hotly, brokenly presented to God for explanation this portion of His character. It glowed red, ominously inconsistent with all the rest: Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord? … Why do you forget our affliction? (Psalm 44:23-24).

It’s these moments, as we press into 2017, that unresolved suffering can line our prayer lives with the coarse, clotted soil of unbelief. It’s just enough, y’know, to stonily cushion our fall, but just fertile enough we hardly realize it’s there, choking our hearts and our prayers.

For me, unbelief usually blossoms as fear; as worry. My unbelief stems directly, stealthily, from its taproot in my heart. He loves me? He loves me not?

Perhaps I should ask you what it is always good to ask myself: This year—or, just today—what makes you afraid?

At times, the notion stalks the corners of our minds when loss shadows all we see: Maybe God’s power is just blindly bent on His purposes. Maybe that grand scheme of His just trumps…

People.

Or even, Me.

I confess to thinking in my own times of grief, I would not love my kids like this.

But that was Eve’s mistake, too, I guess—getting cajoled into lies that eventually left her naked and hiding. And still, God looked for the two of them, with words I imagine Him calling to me in my humiliation and anger: Where are you?

As we think about how to pray for ourselves this inaugural month of 2017—I begin with an ancient prayer. It begs God to fill us with belief, to root us—always first–immovably in His love.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father… so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge… “(Ephesians 3:14,17-19)

And why? That you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Wouldn’t that be a prayer for 2017.

In what areas do you most struggle with fear right now? Come with me. Create time to explore, pray through, and scribble down the underlying reasons and concerns threaded through those fear. Then, just as aggressively, search out truths from God’s Word about those specific fears.

This year, let’s press into the honesty of our hearts, naked and unashamed. And then—preach to them. On New Year’s morning, I decided to write out statements of belief, directly addressing the fears circling my heart: “Lord, I believe that if you want to __, You can __.” Sometimes, I need even more: “And if you choose not to, I know ___.”

A friend of mine who eventually lost his wife, and the mother of his four children, to Lou Gehrig’s disease once recalled to me a profound moment with God. While he still cared for her as her body spiraled downward, he had lain on his bed, overcome by loss.

But God seemed to be pointing him toward thanks. Not able to immediately turn to full-on gratitude, my friend simply started small. He thanked God for the ability to breathe; for the bed he wept on; for the air conditioning. From there, his gratitude snowballed, steering him into praise.

My friend’s attitude has revolutionized my approach to my bad days; to my pain.

In truth—it’s shifted my focus from my own, disbelieving self, to who God is. Quietly, and over and over in my doubt, God has changed my tone from my Prove it!—even when I’m pleading for it—to How could I deny it?

This year in prayer, may we courageously present ourselves in all truthfulness to God, asking Him for help in overcoming our unbelief. Then, beginning with gratitude, may we choose soul-satisfaction in His love—and belief in the God far greater than our most hidden and penetrating doubts.

 

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16 thoughts on “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”

  1. Pingback: What Makes You Happy? 15 Ideas for a More Blissful & Thankful Day (Right Now) - A Generous Grace™

  2. Pingback: Guest post: He loves me, He loves me not - A Generous Grace

  3. It is by no mistake that I was lead to read this today. I have a 26-year old son who is an alcoholic. He recently received a DUI and may be facing prison time. My heart is broken and I want desperately to save him from this fate, but know that I cannot. I recite Romans 8:28 all day everyday trusting that God will work good from this situation. I tend to lay it at the foot of the cross just to pick it back up again and allow that fear and worry to creep back in. I thank you for your message of truth and encouragement.

    1. Pam, I am so sorry to hear of such pain and loss with your son! As a mother, my heart can only imagine the ache and anxiety that would come with his decisions like this. For me, choosing faith rather than fear would be a constant decision as my heart turns up new griefs or possibilities–or chews on old ones it hasn’t resolved. Praying right now that God will give you wisdom in your relationship, peace that overwhelms your circumstances, and strength to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. May He remind you of His profound love and care for you today in very intimate ways. Thanks so much for writing in.

  4. Elizabeth Perry

    Growing up with identical twin sister within an adoptive family.
    He loves me, he loves me not haunted our relationship with our adoptive father. Packing & un-packing a bin bag until the age of 16 yrs when we both left home.

    I’ve been in a relationship for 30yrs, 20yr wedding anniversary this September & a beautiful 14yr old son in side & out.
    Both born again Christian 20yrs & son 3yrs.

    He loves me, he loves me not has somehow crept more & more into my marriage.
    The hurt, pain, feeling of unloved, unseen, invisible, lonely on my Christian walk & disbelief of people not even realising I even have a husband! We hardly communicate, show affection, spontaneously say ‘I love you,’ pray together or do anything together! Yetwhen I try to make moves in those directions, I feel rejected, insignificant, unloved. We have an affectionate, sensitive & loving son whom I think is caught inbetween his parents differences.
    I know God loves us both unconditionally & this is not His doing for our marriage, life’s together & relationship together.

    Our son has gone away with school for a week & would really like for a break through in God drawing us back together, to fall back in love, into each others arms & God’s too.

    I seek God’s face & word as I pray for His help as well as thanking Him for all He’s already done & plans to do.

    In Jesus mighty name. Amen

    1. Elizabeth, thank you so much for taking time to share your heart. If I’m hearing you right, I sense themes of that fear of rejection stemming back to your childhood and into the present. I do believe in a God who is able to resurrect dead things–marriages included!–so I’m praying for you right this moment, that God will demonstrate His power in your relationship. I’m also praying that you will see in an intimate way the height, depth, breadth, and length of His affection for you. You are loved!

  5. Wonderful story! I had my moments of why, why why and “How could you?” I have often dealt with fear and doubts in my walk with God. I think most of those troubled times came because I took my eyes off the Father and let go of His strong hand and got a bit sidetracked and then sidelined. God continually nudges me back to my place on the path and I refocus and things don’t seem so dreadful as I had perceived them and I breathe a little easier and feel renewed in the knowledge that “All things are working for my good.”

    1. So well-spoken Deborah. I’m amazed at how my “eyes are the lamp of the body”, and that there are real effects when they’re not healthy. Good words.

  6. Thank you. I too will print this out as I enter this year wondering if this is the year my 18th year marriage will end….still trusting in HIM when I don’t see any encouragement of change nor improvement. But I still believe in God and in His everlasting mercies and I am thankful for that, and for the encouragement He leads me to when I read articles like yours. Thank you.

    1. Karla, my heart just hurts with you. Thank you for writing in! I’m so sorry you’re suffering like this. I am praying right this minute for surpassing faith in God and His goodness as you seek to be “rooted and established” in His immovable love this year. I’m praying, too, that God will grant you everything you need for every day of 2017 as you seek His resurrection of your marriage. He still raises dead things! You are loved.

  7. Thank you, Janel, for your words of encouragement! As I approach year #2 of praying and fasting for my son to return his heart to the Father’s heart, I need to remember to thank and praise God for the day that Restoration is complete! Today my son is one day closer to surrender. God be praised!

    1. I’m so grateful to hear this, Tina. I simply cannot imagine the pain you endure, and the deep faith God is nurturing in you. May You feel deeply loved today as you trust His plans for your son.

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