God loves you. But I don’t feel God’s love.

God loves you. But how could God love me when I’ve messed up?

God loves you. But how can I know God loves me? Really know for certain?

God loves you. But how could God say he loves me when he didn’t help me when I most needed him?

Sound familiar?

God loves us and yet we are so fearful. So insecure. We insist God needs to prove his love to us beyond a shadow of a doubt. 

For many years, many more than I’d care to admit, I doubted God could love me. Why did he let me have a stroke at twenty-one? What about this weakness and that disordered attachment? How could he love me when I’m not all that I should be? How could God love me when I can’t even love myself? I’ve also listened to the hearts of others whispering their secret fear that they were ultimately unlovable or unloved by their Father in heaven.

When I was praying with today’s Gospel passage, I was overwhelmed with how Jesus loves us. Loves me. Pause right now and read this passage from the Gospel of John, replacing every “them” with your own name. Read it slowly. Read it several times. As you eavesdrop on Jesus’ prayer to his Father, listen to what he thinks about you. What he desires for you. What he feels for you. “I pray not only for Sr Kathryn, but also for those who will believe in me through her word….  And I have given her the glory you gave me, so that she may be one [with us], as we are one, I in Sr Kathryn and you in me,…that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved her even as you loved me.” Father, she is your gift to me….

God loves me, we can each say it. We may not feel his love because our emotions are caught up and “bent out of shape” by the turmoil of our inner world and the situations in which we live. The Father’s love is deeper. He loves you so much that he has made you a gift to his Son Jesus.

In this passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus is praying about his apostles who had certainly messed up many times during their three years with him and were about to fail miserably as Jesus was arrested, put on trial, and crucified. Jesus knew these dear friends of his through and through. Yet Jesus prays to his Father with confidence that even as the Father loves his Son, so the Father loves them. He doesn’t say the Father loves them a little bit. Be certain that the Father loves you as he loves his own Son. 

This love of God for us exists, and in that we can put our trust more than in anything else in the world.

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Saint Boniface

Saint Boniface was an English Benedictine monk who made it his life’s mission to convert the Germanic tribes to Christianity. He found it was no easy task and ended up giving his life for the cause. Boniface was martyred on June 5, 754.