There are times when we are tempted to doubt God’s Love for us. Times of suffering, pain, and bereavement. In those times with doubt in God’s love assaults faith, there are four ways we can strengthen our trust in God’s love.
First, remember what God did in the past.
The Hebrews writer reminds us in Hebrews 1:1-2:
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
God has spoken. God interacts, God engages. God is not a disinterested, distant, God who stands separate from His people. When His people are hurting, there is a Word from God. When there is conflict, there is a Word from God. When your life falls apart, there is a Word from God. Verse two of Hebrews chapter one tells us that God’s most powerful Word spoken is His Son Jesus Christ who is the Word Himself (see John 1). God’s Word is God’s powerful presence in the times of trouble.
- 1 Corinthian 15:3-4 tells us that the good news is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, He was buried and rose again three days later; all “according to the Scriptures.”
- Roman 5:8 tells us:
“…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Those two verses provide us with a thumbnail sketch of the Gospel. Jesus Christ died for your sin and my sin, He rose again three days later, all this was done for the purpose of demonstrating God’s love for us. Notice that Jesus did not die for righteous people, Jesus did not die for good people. Jesus died for the ungodly, unrighteous, and unjust. He did not die for those who had their act together. Jesus died “while we were still sinners.”
The first way we reinforce our trust in God’s love is remember what God has done in the past.
Second, focus on what God is going to do in the future. God gave us through his servant John a glimpse of what the future looks like for God’s people in Revelation 21:1-4:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
The future is rooted in what God is doing today as Jesus says in Revelation 21:5:
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
This world is in the process of transformation, Jesus is making everything new. One day in the future, because the work of Jesus Christ there is going to be no more death, pain or mourning, God will dwell with His people, God will wipe every tear from the eye of His servants. There is time coming, when pain, death and the consequences of death will be done once and for all. These things that are such a part of this world will be a distant fading memory. The suffering of this world is temporary and finite. Life with God is eternal.
- I look forward to a time when I do not have to deal with the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- I look forward to a time when I no longer haver to offer a prayer of comfort for the dying and bereaved.
- I look forward to a time when I no longer see and hear about, abused and hurting people.
We long for and pray for that time when the old order of things will pass away and we take comfort in the truth that those things will pass away. While we wait, we strive to live our lives in such a way that people see a glimpse of what Eternal life is like.
The second way we reinforce our trust in God’s love is to focus on what God is going to do in the future.
The third way is we show love for Jesus by obedience.
- Some people obey God out of fear of consequence (I don’t want to go to Hell).
- Some people obey God in order to get a reward. (I want to go to Heaven).
In John 15:23-24 Jesus give us the main reason for obedience
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
Jesus gives us the only valid reason for obedience; Love for Jesus. Jesus says if you love Me, you will practice what I teach, If you don’t love Me, you wont practice what Jesus teaches. It is as simple as that.
Jesus expounds on what it means to keep to His teaching in John 13:34:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
That is how the follower of Jesus is to be known to the outside world. Some of the most disappointing times in ministry come when people claim to love the Lord with all of their heart mind and soul, then treat those who Jesus loved and died for with contempt and hate. Jesus says that His followers must love one another. That means we overlook a slight, we forgive the unforgivable, we bear with each other’s foibles, and failings. We encourage each other, as well as confront each other out of a life that is filled with love, like Jesus.
The fourth way we strengthen our trust in God’s love is to connect to Jesus promise of His abiding presence. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:20:
“…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I come from a tradition that participates in the The Lord’s Supper each time we gather for worship. The Lord’s supper is reminder of the four ways we strengthen our trust in God’s love. There is a reason why the Lord’s Supper was central to worship in the early Church:
- The Lord’s Supper reminds us that God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for our sin.
- The Lord’s Supper reminds us of what God is going to do in the future.
- The Lord’s Supper reminds us that just as Jesus loved us and laid down His life for us we ought to obey His teaching and in the same way love and lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- The Lord’s Supper is a visible reminder of Jesus presence with His people.
Let me remind you that when times of doubt in God’s love come to us: God has displayed His love for His people in three ways:
God displays His love of His people in three ways:
- God indentifies Himself with His people.
- God Judges those who oppress His people.
- God’s vindicates His peoples trust in Him.
God’s people strengthen their trust in Him in four ways:
- Remember what God has done in the past.
- Focus on what God is going to do in the future.
- Obey out of Love for Jesus Christ.
- Connect to God’s promise of His Abiding presence.
May God Bless you.