Most often our interpretation of love is derived from our experiences. Experiences shape our perspective and outlook on life, and it generally happens in our childhood years. Did we or did we not experience love, acceptance, warmth, security, and nurturing from our parent(s) or parental figures? Were we known, understood, seen, heard, guided, protected? Did we feel safe, secure, nurtured, and cared for? Who spoke into our lives? Were we encouraged, supported, taught, and lovingly corrected? Who was attuned to our emotions? Who helped us navigate difficult emotions and feelings like fear, worry, doubt, sadness, anger, grief, etc.? Who celebrated our accomplishments or met our happiness, joy, contentment with like emotional expression? Who helped us process our emotions and experiences in a healthy manner? Answers to these questions and countless others may, in fact, determine our life's trajectory. It may also give us insight on how we view God.
We are God's creation (Genesis 1:27), created in his image and likeness. Looking to The Father affords us a greater understanding of who we are, and moreover, who we are in him (Acts 17:28). The closer we get to him, the closer he gets to us (James 4:8). As we cultivate a relationship with God, we will soon discover the vastness of his love. His love cannot be measured or searched. It is deeply mysterious for our finite and limited understanding to fully grasp (Isaiah 40:28-31, Ephesians 3:18). Many live in unnecessary torment and unspeakable pain, shame, regret, humiliation, and embarrassment as a result of past experiences. Understandably, it is hard to receive the good news of the gospel when one is navigating challenging feelings. But, feelings do not negate the truth of the tenets of scriptures. God is love (I John 4:8) and in him there is shadow of turning (James 1:7). These are foundational truths that we must receive by faith when logic and experiences are internally warring against us.
If you are struggling to embrace the truth of God's love for you, may I encourage you to pursue a closer relationship with him? Relationships take time to develop, so devote time to get to know God. Consider daily devotions that include a time to read, study, contemplate, and pray a passage of scripture. Mindfully meditate on the word of God. Find yourself in his word. For example, a familiar passage of scripture is John 3:16.
"For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16 AMP)
As you prayerfully and contemplatively read and meditate on this scripture, see yourself in it. "For God so loved_______( your name) that He gave His only Son." Consider the depth and vastness of such love--just for you. How does that impact you? Are you able to receive this foundational truth? If not, why? If you answered no and are not sure why this is so, do not be discouraged. Keep cultivating a relationship with God; the entrance of his word brings light (Psalm 119:130). He will give understanding and deeper revelation.
Father, in the name of Jesus, thank you for the vastness of your love. Thank you that although my experiences of love may not always been good or positive, I thank you for the truths of your word. Thank you that your love is vast and unsearchable. I receive the truths of your word by faith. I pray that you would birth a hunger and a desire to pursue cultivating a deeper relationship with you. I receive the truths of the vastness of your love by faith. Amen.
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