“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).
We know that God loves us because it is a fundamental truth of Scripture, but maybe our conception of how it is manifested in our lives is faulty. While in love God protects and provides for us, it does not mean that He will wrap us up in cotton wool or mollycoddle us. We may wonder why God allows struggles, problems and sadness into our lives, but we must accept that He knows what is the absolute best for our spiritual maturity. The challenges we face in life are not there to weaken us but to strengthen and build our faith in Him. There comes a day when a mother eagle has to force her chicks out of the nest so that they can “mount up” and soar in the sky (Isaiah 40:31). This apparent cruelty is actually an act of love. Our security is not in things but in the Lord. Knowing this will give us the power to grow in faith.
God’s love displayed
There can be no greater manifestation of God’s love for us than in Christ. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:7-9). We can rightly say that Jesus is the personification of God’s love. Therefore, if we want to understand and experience His love, then we must get to know Jesus more, and the way to do this is remarkably simple; we prayerfully read and study the Scriptures.
How could we have ever begun to believe that God loves us unless we read texts like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” or Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”? In fact, if He loved us so much despite our sin, then we cannot but trust He loves us now we are redeemed through the blood of Christ. His love for us is not based on how loveable or perfect we are.
We are the “apple of” His “eye” (Psalm 17:8) and “graven … upon the palms of” His “hands” (Isaiah 49:16). We cannot, unless we choose to go our own way, be plucked from His hand (John 10:28-29). While we abide in Him, regardless of our personal circumstances, we are secure in His love. Surely this is a life-transforming truth that sets us free from all worries, fears and anxieties! “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:17-19). While we might know that God loves us, it cannot empower our souls unless we actually believe it.
God’s love described
Though there are many wonderful passages of Scripture that describe God’s love for us, Psalm 91 must rank high on our list. It is believed by some that Moses wrote this song of praise, but possibly David incorporated the words into this psalm. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday” (:1-6). The Lord led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land, yet they faced numerous hardships and problems along the way. We have been delivered from slavery to sin and are being led along the pathway that leads to Heaven, but how often we face dilemmas and trials! This psalm tells us that all the nasty things in life will come against us, but also that we can keep trusting in God to give us the victory in the all. “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation” (:7-16). The way to our Promised Land is by dwelling in the secret place of the Most High – the security of His love for us. Here then is our refuge and strength despite the onslaughts of the devil or the world. We do not need to make ourselves believe this precious promise, but simply accept it as God’s authoritative word.
Where else can we find such security but in the love of God? As we continue to abide in Christ, we will increase in knowledge of His love for us, and this love will bring even greater victories in our every day lives. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:16-21).