“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have You loved us?” Malachi 1:2
There’s a common misconception about God’s love. Many people think that if God truly loves them He’ll remove their troubles and say, “Yes” to every prayer. Thinking that way can cause us to doubt God’s love when life gets difficult.
Most of life’s troubles spring from the fact that we live in a troubled world. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). We shouldn’t follow Jesus in search of a trouble-free life, but to know the One who has overcome the source of our troubles.
Some of life’s difficulties, however, come from our own attitudes and actions. When God points to an issue in your life He’s also pointing to the solution. And the solution to any wrong thought or behavior is to repent of it. Our heavenly Father relentlessly pursues fellowship with His children. That includes using loving discipline to bring us back to Him.
Israel forgot that God’s love is unearned, unsolicited, and unconditional. So, God’s statement of love was met with arrogance, “How have you loved us?” They thought God should have done more for them based on their works. In their estimation, the problem was with God, not with them. Likewise, if we continually doubt God’s love, we’ll eventually blame Him for the difficulties we face.
Too often, we question God’s love for us without questioning our love for Him. We let culture set the agenda for how we think rather than the other way around. Our world has normalized loving anything and everything other than God. Second Timothy tells us, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (3:2–4).
As a believer, have you allowed culture to affect what you love, as well as your perception of God’s love? Thinking like the world will cause you to doubt God’s love. So, rather than ask God to work a particular way in your life, look for how He is already at work. Everything God makes possible for His children is from a heart of unconditional love.