When Sensing God’s Love is Difficult
- 2011 17 Mar
I’ve lived for years in a loveless marriage,” a woman I’ll call “Jean” told me after a speaking event in which I talked about God’s pursuing love.
Jean knew from Scripture that the Lord is her “spiritual husband.” But, she struggled with feeling God’s love and presence in her life.
For years, I asked God to help me feel His love,” she said. “I wanted to know He was there but it was so difficult for me to sense His presence. If I don’t know what it’s like to feel my husband’s love, how can I fathom what God’s love for me is like?”
Because Jean was looking for something tangible, something emotional, she continued to feel unloved and alone.
Then one day, another woman showed Jean the facts from Scripture about God’s love for her. And today when she begins to doubt her Savior’s love, she turns to the hard evidence found in God’s Word.
Sometimes, like Jean, we don’t feel God’s love, either. We feel only the sting of an insult, the ache of loneliness, the pain of an unhealed wound. We feel rejection in relationships – or lack of them. And we feel the isolation that comes from longing for something more. But those are the times we need to rely on the facts, rather than our feelings, to know God is who He says He is and He loves us far more than we can imagine. God presented the facts – evidence of His love for us – in Scripture.
The facts are:
- God loved us so much He sent His Son to die in our place (1 John 4:10).
- There is nowhere we can go where His presence is not with us (Psalm 139:7-11).
- Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
- He has always loved us and always will. (Jeremiah 31:3)
God says “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Therefore, we are not to rely on feelings, but to have faith in the facts. Feelings change depending on our circumstances, our moods, our hormones. Facts stay the same, regardless. When faith comes first – “I will believe it because He said it”– the feelings sometimes follow.
In First John 4:9-10, Scripture says: “This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
Notice how that verse doesn’t say: “This is how God showed his love among us; he gave us a person to walk intimately by our side, He made sure we had all the money we would ever need, and He ensured we would never feel rejection, pain or disappointment in this world.” I’m certain if God did all of that for us, we would never feel the need for God’s love. We would, probably, not acknowledge Him at all.
On those days when you don’t feel God’s love, because of circumstances in your life, will you look instead at the facts? Will you focus on the fact that Christ went to the grave and back to get you as His own? Only One Man on this earth could do that for you. And He did – 2,000 years ago. Remember that. Hold onto that. And feel the love.
The Bible says “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”
Let me add to that list: Neither fear nor doubt, neither uncertainty nor unbelief, neither guilt nor shame, neither insecurity nor a sense of worthlessness will be able to separate you from the love of God. Nothing.
That makes you inseparable from the love of God. And that makes you one loved lady!
If you are having difficulty sensing God’s love and presence, tell Him. Then apply these steps to put your faith into action:
1. Ask Him for the faith to sense His presence. In Matthew 7:7 we’re told: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
2. Believe He will give you that faith. In First John 5:14-15, we’re told that “if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.” (The Message).
3. Commit yourself to the search. Are you really serious about wanting to sense God’s presence? In Jeremiah 29:13 we’re assured: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Start now with this prayer:
Maker of My Heart, You have searched me and You know me. And therefore You knew what I would need to hear – from Your Word – to be convinced of Your love for me. Thank You for not only telling me in Your Word that I am Your beloved, but showing me through Your actions. No greater love exists than the love You had and demonstrated for me when You gave up Your life for me so that I could live eternally with You. On days when I don’t feel loved, help me to remember the facts about what You have done on my behalf.
March 17, 2011
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books including When Women Walk Alone, (more than 100,000 copies sold), Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, When God Pursues a Woman’s Heart, and Women on the Edge. For more on her books or ministry, or for free resources to help strengthen your soul, see her website, www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.