Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Does God Love Me?

Last week I explained that spiritual vertigo is when our faith cannot process what we see, hear, or experience. Although we know what the Bible says, life seems to be teaching us otherwise. When we are in the throes of this spiritual doubt, the one thing we want to know is, “Does God really love me—does He care?”

Some time ago, a friend came to me and said he was experiencing a year filled with great adversity. Chris was a deacon in his church, a growing believer, and someone with a servant’s heart for others. He made every effort to be a good husband and father. Fast forward one year—Chris is disillusioned with his faith and church life. During his most dedicated year of service, his wife had serious knee surgery, placing her on crutches for several weeks. He found himself being breadwinner, dad, nurse, and part-time mom. Adding to this, his father had a stroke and suffered a terrible year of mental difficulties. The year ended with Chris placing his father in a nursing facility because his violent outbursts became too much for home care. The man he called “dad” was no longer the same man who raised him.

His father had just passed away when Chris came to me for guidance. He was discouraged and admitted he doubted his faith. His reasoning was simple, and one we all can identify with. He said, “I felt I was doing the right things. I was a leader in the church, a good husband, and father. I just can’t believe a loving, heavenly Father would allow my dad to suffer as he did.” I listened as Chris told his story. At the end of our conversation, Chris summed up his feelings saying, “He may be a loving, heavenly Father, but I feel like I treat my kids a lot better than He treats His.” Chris was experiencing spiritual vertigo. His faith couldn’t process what he was seeing, hearing, or experiencing. Chris doubted God’s love for him. He wondered if God even cared.

Everything that was happening in Chris’ life was true—it’s just not the whole truth. Only God knows the whole truth. We can better understand adversity in our lives when we have a better handle on faith. Oz Guinness says that faith is in transit between the “no longer” and the “not yet.” We build faith by looking at the “no longer.” We look back and thank God for what He has done for us. Thinking back we become grateful, realizing that we are better off than we deserve. We also come to know, as God came through in the past, we can now look to the “not yet,” believing in Him for the future. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The assurance of things hoped for are the things we believe God will provide in the future.

Where do we start? We start at the cross. Colossians 2:6 teaches, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” How did we receive Christ? We received Him humbly at the cross. We came to Christ with no righteousness of our own, with nothing to offer—just a humble heart because of what He did for us. C. J. Mahaney said, “For me, grace is never more amazing than when I’m looking intensely at the cross, and I believe the same will be true for every child of God. There is nothing more overpowering and captivating to the soul than to climb Calvary’s mountain with childlike attentiveness and wonder, with all the distractions and wrong assumptions cleared away.”

We grow in Christ, trust in Christ, and sense the love of Christ, by humbly coming daily to the cross. How does this help?

1. Living at the cross helps us remember the sacrifice He made in order to save us from our guilt and sin. The cross opened the possibility of a relationship with God.

2. The cross declares our worth. William Temple declared, “My worth is what I am worth to God and that is a marvelous great deal, for Christ died for me.” The cross reminds us that God, indeed, does love us.

3. The cross clears our conscience. We constantly deal with the burden of guilt and when we experience adversity we often examine ourselves and wonder if we are “good enough” to be blessed. The cross reminds us that Christ already paid for our sins. “…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

4. The cross helps us place ourselves into fellowship with God, who desires to bless our lives. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

It’s easy for us to identify with Chris’ spiritual vertigo. All of us have gone through times of disappointment, doubt, disillusionment, and anger. The first step in overcoming spiritual vertigo is to humble ourselves before the cross. However, it’s not the only step.

I wrote Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo to help people like me, you, and Chris. I believe this book holds many answers on how we can overcome doubt and pursue courageous faith for our lives. Please click on the book on the right for more information.

God does love you!

1 comment:

  1. I am a very visual person. I just put three sticky notes on my computer monitor. On the left it says, "No Longer," on the right it says, "Not Yet," and on the top in the middle it says, "FAITH!" Thank you, Pastor!