Trust in God’s promises and you will discover His love.
What do we really seek in life? We strive to matter, to be loved, and to be recognized. We can call it whatever we like. No matter what we’re looking for in life, it’s all driven by one thing—to be loved. And that is okay. God created us to be loved. It’s engrained in our hearts. We are driven by the desire to be loved. Yes, God created you to glorify Him, but also to be loved by Him.
No one can deny the profound need to worship someone and to be loved by someone. We are lost unless we discover God’s love and are alive in him. The call to be in God’s love sounds passive, doesn’t it? Perhaps you are asking, “How do I live in someone’s love? Shouldn’t God himself need to choose to love me? Shouldn’t God be the one acting in love toward me? You are right. I want you to know this: God already declares his love for you (John 3:16). John says God first loved us (1 John 4:19). God always loves us. He is love in his very nature (1 John 4:19). What is the problem then? Why do I feel unloved? Why does no one seem to care? The problem is us.
How do I live in God’s love? Living in God’s love first requires I come to the realization that God loves me. To be in God’s love is to trust and apply God’s promises as the foundation for all things in life. Live with hope in dark hours, pray when you can’t see the path of your future, and be concerned more on what God thinks of you than what others think or say. God says you are his child: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1John 3:1). You are redeemed. Scripture tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). You can confidently say, like David, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4 NIV). You will miss out on God’s love if you put your trials and circumstances above God’s promises and his finished work on the cross.
What happens when we are missing out on God’s love? We become prideful and unhappy unless we are recognized by others. We refuse to embrace who we are and how God made us. We struggle to accept ourselves. We find it difficult to see ourselves as God sees us. We seek to find our identity elsewhere. How do I know? I have been there. For a long time, I struggled and refused to accept who I am in Christ. I didn’t like my new look and my appearance. I used to be very prideful as a child before I lost my arms. Now I have no arms. After losing my arms in a fire, I felt weak. I became very obnoxious. I asked myself, Will I ever be loved? I was so focused on my circumstances that I was blind to God’s love. I told myself everyone is better than me. It was my pride speaking. I was afraid I had nothing to boast on. Paul reminded me there is power in weakness. I need to believe God loves me and trust in his promises. I must live in God’s power and love. Paul was weak, but he found his strength in God’s power. He states, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (Psalms 34:10 NIV). Paul didn’t care what others thought of him. He found his identity in God’s love. He boasted in his weakness.
I couldn’t love myself before because I was concerned no one else did. No one cared. I didn’t feel I mattered because I had nothing to contribute to the table. I felt weak and broken. I regularly thought about ending my own life. I thought that if I did not matter, why bother living at all? What do you suppose made me want to kill myself? My pride, which made the lack of acceptance from others intolerable. I was brought up in a culture where people who are physically limited are made fun of, overlooked, and ignored by the very leaders who should be creating a safe environment for them. Someone who does not understand the sacrificial love of Christ for them cannot have any appreciation for oneself. That person not only cannot love himself or herself rightly, but also cannot love anyone else, and certainly does not love God. We become self-centered, which is false love for oneself. We seek to create our own safe place out of fear. Scripture says, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NIV). For anyone to feel a sense of purpose and appreciate life, this fundamental need to be loved must be met. And this is what Jesus did when he died on the cross for prideful sinners like me and you. It is precisely why Jesus said that this is how one is saved: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all soul, with all mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30 NIV). The logic goes like this: God is the source of love. Love for God leads to love for oneself, and loving oneself leads to loving others. No matter how you look on the outside or your internal circumstance, God, your Maker loves you. If you love him, you will find purpose in life and appreciate whatever life has to offer.
You may not be physically limited like me, but if you feel depressed or unloved, take heart—God has a great plan for you. He desires to give you peace, hope, and joy. All you must do is trust in God’s promises. He promises to never leave you, and has prepared work in advance for you to walk in. You can believe in what he has done for you, his death to make you right with him, and his resurrection to give you eternal life. Scripture states, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah:10 NIV). I believe in God’s promises and his love. Loving God gives me purpose and a will to live. He has shown me his love because I trust in it. God gives me the courage, the motivation, and the strength to live and to pursue an education, even to the point of finishing my education despite life’s difficulties. He gives me hope to push for a future. “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10 NIV). Trust in God’s love. When we think rightly about God, we will also love and serve others, which is a good solution to self-pity.