“How do you feel God feels about you?”
A pastor and friend of mine recently asked this question to a group of Christian leaders. He was not asking about our theology or cognition but about our emotional experience of God. If you close your eyes and imagine how God feels about you, how would you answer? This was a question for our hearts not our heads. How do you feel God feels about you?
Do you ever feel as though He’s disappointed with you? We are often disappointed with ourselves. We haven’t accomplished all we thought we should. We have failed to do what we ought. Life hasn’t worked out as we hoped. We’re not tall enough, smart enough, pretty enough. And on and on. Besides our self-assessment, our polarized world makes it obvious that people are frequently disappointed with us as well. You should wear a mask. Why are you still wearing a mask? You need the latest booster. Why are you getting any more shots that don’t work? You voted for who?! Obviously when God thinks about me, He is disappointed too.
Or perhaps we have the feeling God is distant from us. He doesn’t appear to be that interested in my circumstances or aware of my problems and worries. He doesn’t seem to hear my prayers or solve my problems. Does He even see me? Does He take notice of my life? How does God feel about me? He’s nowhere to be found.
It is not wise to trust our feelings if they are uninformed by the reliable truth of God. The Bible emphatically announces that the most transformative reality for our spiritual formation is the certainty that we are loved by God. God wants us to know this. He wants us to experience it. He wants us to feel loved by Him.
From the moment of birth, a child looks up in search of the face that goes with the voice she heard while in her mother’s womb. Picture a mother and father going nose to nose with their precious new baby, lavishing love and smiles and kisses. That infant looks up for the delight of her parents who would now sacrifice everything for her well-being. As she is being delighted in, joy is released in her tiny brain and a relational attachment is formed with these two happy faces. She is loved by her parents, and she knows it. She feels it and has joy.
God wants the same for us. He wants us to have joy and an attachment to Him experienced because of His perfect love. Sadly, we’re often not convinced of His love – so allow your feelings to be informed by His Word:
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV).
“You shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:23b-26.
Information about God’s love is not the same as experiencing God’s love. Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul prayed for our heads and our hearts.
[I pray] 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, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19.
In these tumultuous days you may not be prized by the world, but you are lavishly loved by God. May this be the anchor for our identity and our meaning and our joy.
With you on the journey,