April 22 (Hebrews 11:1, Mark 9:24)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped
for, the conviction of things not seen. (ESV)
“I believe; help my unbelief!” (ESV)
For the person who does not believe that God loves him, there is little in Scripture that can help. Oh, there are plenty of verses that speak of God’s love toward us, but the person who is struggling to accept that love will likely not take much comfort in them. At best they form a foundation for logical acknowledgment. I am a human being. God loves human beings. Therefore, God loves me. That is hardly the sort of thing we reach for in the blackness of despair.
A person cries out to God, “Do you love me…ME?” She wants to know she is loved because God sees her and knows her and loves her, not because she is loved by her default status as a member of the human race, and this requires faith. Faith is assurance and conviction even in, especially in, the face of overwhelming feelings or evidence to the contrary, and if we’re already doubting God’s love, such faith can be rather difficult to muster on our own.
So, what do we do? We cry out with the man to whom Jesus had said all things were possible for those who believe. “I do believe, Lord, but help my unbelief!” We hurl our doubts and fears and frustrations at Jesus. We fling them at Him angrily, because, if we are honest, we are angry with Him. We want to feel His love so badly, something is blocking that, and we are just tired, worn out, and…well…angry. Where are You, Lord? This is not a time to theologize that what is blocking our experience is sin or Satan and that we really should be angry at ourselves or at the devil. Jesus will take care of all that in due course. For now, take it all to Him in tears and rage. His love will not come, for it has always been there and always will be, and because that is true, He will help you experience it again.
Jesus, I don’t know where to begin. I need You. I need to feel and know Your love as never before. That much I do know. I don’t need a platitude or empty words. I need You, Jesus. Today, right now, I need Your love. Help my unbelief and restore me to a place of confidence and assurance in You. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins