How do I know God loves me when I keep suffering and the pain never seems to stop?
“For great is Your love, higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” Psalm 108:4
Last year my son and I were cuddled up on the bed having one of those rare quiet moments where he just wanted personal attention and was holding still long enough for me to talk with him.
I told him, “Do you know how much Mommy loves you?”
“How much?” he asked.
“I love you as high as the sky and as deep as the ocean” I told him.
“I love you. . .” he started to say, trying to think of something to compare it with. “. . .as deep as the toilet!”
[Ah. . . thanks. . . I think!]
Well, maybe he was trying to think of a body of water like I had mentioned the ocean.
We ARE loved. “But how do I know God loves me,” we ask ourselves.
As soon as Valentine’s Day has passed all the stores remove the decorations of hearts and signs of affection and throw up big green clovers and little men dressed in tights. How fickle this can also represent our love. We remember those we love on the big holidays, we try to write “Happy Birthday” on friend’s Facebook walls, and we occasionally pick up the phone and hang up saying, “love you.”
But we don’t always feel loved ourselves. Does anyone remember us? Does anyone really see us? How do I know God loves me?
Living with an illness can be isolating and lonely. Even today as I prepare all of my paperwork for a new doctor, trying to explain the timeline of 18 years with rheumatoid arthritis, I look at my organized preparations and think, “Is this really my life?” I mention my marriage and the adoption of my child. The rest of my notes revolve around surgeries, infections, medication changes, and flares.
But God loves us. We look at our bottles of pills all lined up and we think, “How? If this is how He chooses to love me, do I really want to trust this God? I this is how He allows those He loves to suffer, why would I believe in Him? How do I know God loves me for sure?”
Because He loves you. He chose you. He even chose this path for you. God loves you deeper than you can ever imagine.
If you were the responsible child in your family growing up, you may remember how there were even greater expectations put on your shoulders. Perhaps more was even expected of you. It didn’t seem fair. If you were the child who was not quite as responsible, it may have taken you a bit longer in life to discover what you wanted to be when you grew up, what your passions were, etc. Perhaps because you were not forced to go through challenges as frequently, it took a bit longer to find yourself.
God chooses those of us with illness to bear seasons of suffering because He loves us and knows that we can be more of a comfort to those who are suffering–who have no hope– while we are living with illness. As we stand in the muck of life, still explaining how we rely on our Father’s guidance and love each day to endure our illness, people will listen. If we did not suffer, if life was easy, the cash overflowed, we never suffered, would those who were hurting seek us out for advice? Not likely.
I don’t understand it all and I don’t pretend to. I don’t even strive to fully comprehend it all, because even the Bible tells me it’s impossible for me to fully get it. Psalm 108:4 tell me, however, that God’s love is great, higher than the heavens, and that His faithfulness reaches to the skies. That is the best way the author of the Psalms could even begin to explain it in human terms.
It’s like God looks down at us and says, “I love you as deep as the ocean” and we look back and respond, “And I love you as deep as the toilet.” His love is beyond our comprehension. Ecclesiastes 8:17 says, “Then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.”
But our inability to fully understand it does not lessen the impact it can have on our life. it doesn’t change God’s love. It only assures us it is worth fully grasping onto and never letting go.
About the Author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for 18 years. She is the author of Mosaic Moments: Devotionals for the Chronically Ill.
- Our Illness is Always in God’s Sight; He Doesn’t Just Deal With Leftovers (chronicillnesspaindevotionals.wordpress.com)
- How Can We Love Others When We Don’t ‘Feel The Love’ (chronicillnesspaindevotionals.wordpress.com)