Can we believe in a God who is loving?
To listen to some people, you’d think there’s nothing easier. But with others it’s different. They think of all the bad things that are going on – in their own lives and in the world – and they wonder how a God who allows these things can possibly be the loving God that Christians say he is. Is that where you are? At the end of 2020? This year when COVID-19 has so darkened our world? If you are finding it hard to believe in the love of God this little article is for you.
I begin by asserting that the answer to the question is an unhesitating yes. We can believe in a God who is loving. Not because every bad thing that happens can be fully explained (it can’t), but because God himself, in remarkable ways, has shown us his love.
Think, for example, of the sun and the rain. We all like the sun and we don’t always like the rain but we know that both are necessary for food and for life. No sun and no rain mean no food and no life. And Jesus says that it is God who gives them both. It is he who makes the sun to rise and it is he who makes the rain to fall. What is more, he gives these good gifts regardless of what we ourselves are like. Jesus’ exact words are these: ‘Your Father in heaven….causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’. How many people there are who care nothing whatsoever about God! Yet he cares for them and shows it in this very practical way. Every meal on our table is God’s kind gift.
But God has done something infinitely greater than that. He has given us his one and only Son Jesus. We are in the run up to Christmas and Christians once again are talking about Jesus. Who he was and why he came. His humble birth in Bethlehem and later his cruel death on Calvary. Did you know that it was God himself who sent him and with that very death in mind? It was. And here is why: God is loving.
In our utter helplessness we needed someone to save us from our sins and from God’s utterly righteous judgment. So Jesus came – sent by God himself. It is the supreme demonstration of God’s love. We were the guilty ones, deserving only God’s wrath. Yet God himself, in giving us his beloved Son, bore the entire cost of putting us right.
The upshot? You need not live a slave to your sins. You need not suffer the punishment of your sins. You may have freedom and forgiveness and everlasting life. And you shall have them if you will only turn from your sins and put your trust in Jesus to bring you back to God.
Can we believe in a God who is loving? The Bible’s answer is that we can. Yes, there are mysteries; things that leave us perplexed and bewildered. But God does care. We see it in the sun that shines and the rain that falls. Supremely, we see it in Jesus.
May God help you to come to him.