Author | Jamie
Growing up in the church, I always heard about how much God loves me. John 3:16 says:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
That’s a big love, and I believed it. I never questioned whether or not God loved me. The Bible said it, I believed it, and that was that.
Then I came to a time in my life where God’s love for me came into question. I had significant back pain I tried every medical route I could think of to deal with – chiropractic, rehab, injections, and I even saw a neurosurgeon. As modern medicine failed me, I came face to face with a faith question:
If God loves me, why doesn’t he fix this?
For a time, I couldn’t even pray to him very specifically about my problem. I remember thinking I wanted to be able to believe in him, and I was afraid if I asked for help and he didn’t give it, it would be hard to keep believing in him. I thought I was protecting him from having to do something he didn’t want to do. In reality, I was protecting my view of God that was actually very small.
In reality, I was protecting my view of God that was actually very small.
It was at this point I came into a time of scientific experimentation. My shaky hypothesis was, “God loves me.” I began to look to the circumstances in my life to see if that was true or false. My best friends move near me – true. My husband is discouraged at work and has no energy at home – false. I am successful in starting something new – true. My child has an unexplained illness that goes undiagnosed – false.
Now some of you may say you can’t prove God loves you based on your experiences, and you are right. However, I suspect many of us do not look for God in the midst of our everyday lives because we are afraid our circumstances will shake our confidence in him. And I’ll tell you, it did shake my confidence for a time. I wondered where God was and why he wasn’t helping and if he even cared at all. Those are tough questions, and it was an uncomfortable season as I asked them.
I suspect many of us do not look for God in the midst of our everyday lives because we are afraid our circumstances will shake our confidence in him
Here’s the thing I discovered: God is not afraid of our questions. In fact, I think he might be the one trying to get us to ask the hard questions. Is it possible he wants to prove himself to be more loving and more capable than we could ever imagine? I think he wants us to give him a chance to prove it. And that means the confidence we once had needs to be shaken in order to develop an even deeper level of confidence. If you feel confident already, I would challenge you to wonder if it could be possible to have greater levels of trust and confidence than you currently have. I believe there always is. Life is a journey. So is faith. There are ups and downs along the road. Sometimes the downs look like backsliding, but they are really the seeds of growth. Don’t be afraid to press in.
God is not afraid of our questions.
In fact, I think he might be the one trying to get us to ask the hard questions.
God has proved himself faithful to me through some pretty challenging seasons. His love has broken through in surprising ways. I have looked back at old pains with him and asked, “Where were you?” and he has been gracious to give me a new perspective of his presence and love in dark times.
My 18-year-old son went into the emergency room five days ago with some significant problems with his kidney. In the past I may have asked, “God, why are you letting this happen?” While I don’t have a problem with that question in principle (I believe it’s good to be honest with our questions), I was thankful to be able to ask a different question this time:
Father, will you show me your love in this?
I have been uplifted in ways I cannot even explain. Each time I go to pray, I am overcome with gratitude for all the ways God is caring for us, helping us, and guiding us. We still have a lot of practical questions about what this all means and how it will work out. I feel some nagging concerns trying to make their way into my conscience. That’s the reality of the human experience, I suspect – faith and fear existing side-by-side. However, I cannot deny that God’s love is strong and able and readily available. I choose to believe that he loves us, and I suspect he will continue to prove it as we walk this out. The truth I believed so simply when I was younger is taking on a more seasoned look. I have to admit, I like it.
What a great question!! I’ve been through some of those same ups and downs, but I never came up with that question. I think it will make a significant difference in my prayers.
I thought the same thing, Kris. Jamie really helped me not feel shame about the why question, while helping me learn a different question that tunes my ears and alerts my eyes to the gracious activity and presence of God in the middle of my grief, my fear, and my pain. BTW…it was great to eat lunch with you a couple weeks ago, even if it was in pieces!