I Don't Feel God's Love
I have a hard time feeling God’s love. What’s wrong with me?
There’s nothing wrong with you. Whether you were raised in a Christian home or are just beginning your relationship with Jesus…we haven’t taught the love of God in Christian circles very well in recent years. In addition, the ability to receive from The Father, The Savior or the Holy Spirit is a challenge for most of us who are fiercely independent. Receiving God’s love requires a surrender to his power and a willingness to be vulnerable. For some, it is uncomfortable at first.
The Jesus-People of the sixties and seventies were experts at bringing folks into an experience of God’s love since they were purposed by God to overshadow the counterfeit “peace” of flower-power and drug-induced emotionalism. Yet soon after the acoustic guitars of worship died down, the bulk of the mainline Church returned to the country-club religiosity of the 1950’s. Regulations and rulebooks were dusted off as dress-codes and doctrines stiffened and were encouraged in the hippie-re-bound. It’s easier to preach condemnation and control than it is to maintain the message of Christ’s freedom through the Holy Spirit.
Receiving God’s love often requires two things: 1) being able to receive help and 2) being willing to heal from wounds. The first issue is obvious since we all have a stubborn composure; we want to look like we know what we’re doing, right? Everything’s fine! I don’t need help! The truth is, most of us don’t handle life perfectly and we don’t know what we’re doing, either. Each day is new and may contain challenges and solutions we haven’t seen before…so how do we master a life of continual change? We must be honest about our needs and failures (or we wouldn’t need God.) A famous, New York Times contributor named D. T. Niles put it like this: “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread” (NTY, May 11, 1986.) Experiencing God’s love means that we seek it, then we surrender to his touch when he comes to give it. He won’t pry our white-knuckled grip off the steering wheel of life and force us to slide over and rest in his arms. We must agree to receive. (Sometimes the love from God comes through other people, by the way.)
Our wounds clog the pipeline, too. We are scarred by others, yet God often gets the blame for the sins committed against us. For example: as a pastor, I am continually in the role of “counselor.” I frequently ask in my initial interview, “Describe how you see Father-God?” I then ask them about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. What am I doing? I’m checking for wounds and finding out why they are there.
A man or woman who cannot visualize Father God, or who sees him as distant, severe, unkind or unapproachable usually has a deep wound from their earthly dad. He was remote, unavailable, abusive or too busy to engage. If the Holy Spirit is a mystery, a mist or a confusing vapor, this tells me they do not know their Comforter: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16, KJV.) In most family dynamics, who is the comforter, nurturer and helper? Mom. A person who struggles with receiving help or comfort or even prayer, usually had a mother who was not able to perform basic maternal duties. Jesus, the Savior, is the easiest relationship we have with God since our entire faith hangs from his life and sacrifice. Yet there are those who struggle with their salvation and his loving hand of partnership in life’s journey. These folks were often betrayed, abused or wounded by a sibling: “Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11, CEV.)
In closing, we often reject God’s love in shame that we are unforgivable. We believe in error that our sins are too tough for God to handle—we are undeserving of God’s love. This is a lie from hell. He loves you and is reaching for you right now, according to John 3:16.
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information and resources, please visit www.askpastoradrienne.com or the “Ask Pastor Adrienne” YouTube channel for sermons and insights.