“If God really does loves me, why do I struggle to feel that love?”
I have sat with many people who question whether God loves them. Similarly, in many other relationships you and I struggle with knowing and feeling loved by those we want to feel loved by. We question: Do they truly love me? Love for us is measured by whether or not it registers in a way that we can feel it, see it, or have proof of it.
In his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, Gary Chapman helps to elaborate further on each type of love. Thanks to learning about the five love languages, many have now come to recognize the different ways in which someone is trying to express their love. This has helped them work on improving their relationships with others in their lives by learning ways to perceive how they and their loved ones give and receive love.
Having this knowledge also helps us to recognize what we need in order to register the feeling of being loved and valued by others—even by God. I wrote a post several months ago about how we use our own love language to show God our love for him. However, I only recently realized that God similarly displays his love for us in different ways, too. We may not be able to recognize all his ways or receive the feeling of being loved if we are unable to identify through our love language that he loves us.
So let’s quickly recap the love languages. They are: acts of service, words of affirmation, buying gifts, physical touch, and quality time. If you would like more information or to discern what your primary love language is, please refer to the last article I wrote on the 5 love languages book. The quizzes included will help you figure out which one matches you best.
Are you questioning how can these apply to God and his love for us? Maybe you’re asking, He is not a person so how could he possibly use these to communicate his love to us?
To clarify, let me start with acts of service. On Easter, many celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe this is by far the greatest act of service that anyone could ever preform for us. God loved us enough to allow his perfect Son to be separated from him and take on himself all of our sin. Is this not a huge act of service? It is certainly the best thing anyone has ever done for me. Romans 5:10 tells us that we are reconciled back to relationship with him because of the death of Jesus. What about the fact that Jesus came as a servant to us? He didn’t come pointing out his perfection, how we couldn’t measure up or telling us how ignorant we are. He came to serve man. He washed feet, he allowed people to mock him, challenge him, spit on him, beat him, and, eventually, crucify him. This in my mind is the greatest act of service anyone could offer. He laid his life down for us.
The second love language is words of affirmation. Affirmation is building others up and telling them how you feel about them. What are some of the ways we can know God affirms us and and tells us how much he loves us today? There are three ways. I believe God does this through the Bible, through the use of people, and through the specific words Jesus spoke. When we look through the Bible we see God tell us he loves us and he values us. Jesus’ mission while on earth was to spread God’s love for us, to turn us toward God and show us how much our creator values us. We also see God’s love for us through the church. Today, we also have the Holy Spirit who can work within believers on behalf of God. I know of numerous occasions when God has brought people to me to either remind me of his love for me or to have me remind them of his love and value for them.
A third way we can feel loved is through gifts. How does God give us gifts? Does he buy things for us? If you believe what the Bible says you know that God gives us gifts. These gifts come in many forms. Sometimes they are financial, sometimes they are talents, and if you’re a Christian it will always be the gift of the Holy Spirit. You see, if you read God’s word you see certain themes that run throughout. One is that God provides for us. He may not give us a mansion or a high paying job, but he does say we need not worry as he will provide for our basic needs (Matthew 6:26-33).
Even though you may have followed my line of thinking, you still may be asking, how is she going to convince me that God shows me “physical touch?” I believe that there are two ways we feel God’s touch in our lives. The first is through other people. The Bible talks about weeping with those who weep and dancing with those who dance. He gives us other people to hold us up, hug us, and offer physical touch. HE provides that. Ever notice it coming from an unexpected person or place? I know I have. Second, we physically have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as Christians. Have you not ever felt his presence?
For me, the Holy Spirit often provides a peace and comfort. He sometimes leads me to physically comfort someone else. If you don’t believe me, I suggest reading John 14:26, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit is here for us—living in us. We definitely experience his working in our lives. We may not recognize when he is at work, but he certainly is active in our daily life. The Bible even calls him our Comforter. He gives us the peace that passes all understanding—the promise we read in Philippians 4:7. I can’t help but believe God does that through the Holy Spirit since one description of the Holy Spirit is that he is our Comforter.
Finally, how does God give us his “quality time?” Simply, because he is always there for us. In fact, he does not have a beginning or an end. He wants to spend eternity with each of us. Talk about quality time! That is literally for all time. He has created a way for that to happen. He has always provided a way to be with us. We are never truly alone. He provides his Holy Spirit to dwell in us, he provides the Bible, he provides other Christians, he provided for us a way to be with him for eternity through giving us his only Son. He allowed part of himself to be ripped away in death in order to provide for us to be with him for eternity. If that is not love, I am not sure what love is.
I hope that seeing through the lenses of the 5 Love Languages you may recognize some of the ways God shows us he loves us. I would even add that while Jesus was on earth he showed people love using different methods because he knew that different people needed different things in order to be healed. Some people needed to be touched, some to just have him speak a word, some to go and do something, and so on. Consider this: Is it not possible that Jesus chose each method because of the significance that it held to the person who needed healing?
Thank you so much as always for reading my post. Remember, God loves you!
Rachael Heib is an LPC (licensed professional counselor) and is working on a certification in Play Therapy. She obtained her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of LaVerne, California and her Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Argosy University, Atlanta, Georgia. Rachael’s mission in life is to enrich the lives of children and adults through resolving conflicts, applying biblical concepts, and encouraging people to use their natural abilities and talents to better their lives and the lives of those around them. Rachael is married to her high school sweetheart Philipp. They have three bio children and are raising three more. They have fostered a total of five children. To learn more about Rachael, visit her website: https://musingsfromatherapist.wordpress.com/about-rachael/. You can follow Rachael at @theracuppy.