Does God Really Love You?

How to know the love of God

There is perhaps no greater desire of the human soul than to be loved. “To be known and still to be loved – is this not the cry of every human heart?”, Mother Iliana asks in her precious book, The Light of His Eyes: Journeying from Self-Contempt to the Father’s Delight.

“We want to know that if, in the midst of our sin and misery, we expose the most vulnerable places of our hearts to God, we can remain confident that He still loves us – just as a child remains confident before a loving father.”

Sometimes, it can be difficult to believe the love that God has for us. Particularly if we have a propensity for perfectionism and self-criticism, it’s easy to adopt the lie that there’s no way God could love us – not now, not after those things we said, those things we did, that way we behaved.

And yet, as Mother Iliana gently reminds us, no matter how much we may try to disqualify ourselves from being God’s beloved child, God never disqualifies us.

“The wound in our lives that most needs to be touched by God’s grace and that most needs to be healed is the lie that we are not beloved of the Father,” she writes.

But why is it that so many of us struggle to believe – and rest in – God’s love?

Feeling unlovable is part of the human condition:

“I believe that each one of us, to a greater or lesser extent, feels that we are unlovable. But that voice in our heads that tries to bring us down from the inside out is really just Original Sin doing some of its finest work. After the Fall, we found ourselves naked, and since then we have been ashamed to be seen by others or by God in our nakedness. And yet a cry wells up in every human heart to be who God intended each of us to be – naked but unashamed.”

As we become ‘independent’ adults, we lose our childhood dependence:

“As we grow up, we become extremely self-sufficient and believe ourselves to be very much in control of our lives. We begin to forget that it is the Lord who has called us to Himself. We begin to forget that we are dependent on Him for everything and that, apart from God, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

We become restless and anxious, and, just as we earn our wages through work, we begin to think that we have to earn God’s love. We begin to be bound by the shame caused by our sin. We no longer rest in His unconditional love, and we forget how to lose ourselves in the security of His embrace.

And so Jesus points to the little ones among us, showing us how we should be, as we once were – helpless and constantly in need of Him – resting in the knowledge that we are loved…He shows us our worth, not by our strength or ability but by who we are: we are His children, made in His own image.”

Our self-consciousness can also obscure who we really are:

“…most of us waste a lot of energy wondering what everyone else thinks of us. Are we loveable? Are we good enough or funny enough? Do we make the cut? What is this invisible ‘cut’ we need to make?”

“In the anxiety of this self-consciousness, we fail to see that we are – each one of us – the light of our Father’s eyes. We fail to realize that He who made us delights in us, that He longs to lift us up from our misery, that He longs to raise us up to be truly and freely ourselves: the splendor of His creation. He longs to hold us, His own sons and daughters, to His heart – a heart that beats violently with love for each of us.”

Our sinfulness and past can also cause doubts:

“It is much easier for us to believe we are loved when we are ‘being good,’ but so often our sinfulness makes us hide from God in shame. In such a state, we ask ourselves, ‘How could God love me when I’m such a mess? How could He love me when I’ve been such a mess in the past?’”

And our adversary is always trying to get us to question God’s love for us:

“He [God] simply loves. This is the truth that the devil has tried to squelch in us from the very beginning, the truth above all other truths. The devil torments us with these doubts because he knows that if God’s children truly knew and believed how perfectly they are loved, they would cast themselves into this love with all their hearts, and the face of the earth would be transformed.”

It’s important to remember that God delights in us because He made us:

“’And God saw everything that he hade made, and behold, it was very good.’ Why do I think that He means everything but me? Instead of enabling me to persist in justifying such ungodly thoughts of self-rejection, this moment of revelation made it possible for me to instead cry out, ‘My God, You are amazing! Look what You made out of dust!’ How could I reject what He made ‘very good’?”

Indeed, God’s fingerprint is upon us:

“He has covered me with His fingerprints, created me, formed me, and has said, ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you…You are mine (Isa. 43:1). ‘His banner over me [is] love’ (Song of Sol. 2:4). As I seek him with my whole heart, here He is with me. In a way, I myself am a relic, for my being holds the fingerprint of God, a fingerprint that can never be erased.”

And despite our waywardness or brokenness, God will never abandon us:

“Although every story of our broken families is unique, all of us are the same in that, earthly abandoned children that we are, we all struggle to believe that God will not abandon us. This deep and penetrating wound can only be healed through grace.

It takes great healing to believe that God never walks away from us. Even if we, His erring and wandering children, walk away and abandon Him, He, the faithful and ideal parent, is always waiting for, searching for, and longing for our return. And even in the midst of the greatest sufferings we might endure, God has not and will not abandon us.”

Indeed, no sin can separate us from the love of the Father:

“There is no sin that cannot be redeemed, no wound that cannot be healed, no situation – no matter how painful – that cannot be transformed for His glory…Nothing is beyond repair. He makes ‘all things new’” (Rev. 21:5).


“Even a destroyed foundation can be rebuilt….’O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones’” (Isa. 54:11-12)

If ever we have any doubt, we can remember that God demonstrates His love for us through Jesus:

“Jesus is the embodiment of the thirst of the Father for His children. If the Father did not thirst for us, He would have had no need to send us His Son to reconcile us to Himself. When Jesus cries, ‘I thirst’ (John 19:28) from the Cross, He reveals to us how much His Father desires our return to Him…

It is so important for us to hear our own name called, to begin to understand how much intimately and personally He desires relationship with me, with you. As much as He calls and shows us His thirst on the Cross, if we do not turn to receive His mercy and love, it has all been one-sided and futile. We have to turn and run to the One who thirsts to give us everything. We have to open our hearts to believe. ‘Believe that He loves you, that He wants to help you in the struggles you have to undergo. Believe in His love, His exceeding love.’” (Quote from Mother Teresa)

So, ask yourself this:

“When was the last time you allowed the Father to delight in you as He delights in His own beloved Son? Do you think He loves the Son more than He loves you? That simply is not possible, for God is love. He cannot love one more than another. He simply loves….[y]ou are loved by the Father as Jesus is loved by the Father. The only question is – and this is vitally important – will you receive this love?”

Indeed, sometimes it’s simply a matter of receiving the love that we already have:

“It is very draining to always strive after God without receiving His love; I really do not recommend it.”

This includes receiving His mercy, which is new every morning:

“Nothing is too small for God. He wants to know about every paper cut and every scrape so that He can pour the balm of His mercy on them. I am reminded of this verse from the Psalms: ‘My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness’ (38:5). My foolishness is this: I do not go to Him to receive mercy.

He wants – as any good parent wants – for us to bring Him everything that hurts. When someone says a harsh word to us, when someone glances at us resentfully and we grow discouraged, when we become frightened, or when we fall into the same sin again, He wants to pour His mercy into it all. All we have to do is turn to Him and receive it. We have to make this choice to receive from Him because, as Mother Teresa explains, He doesn’t force Himself in.”

And receiving His forgiveness:

“I realized that somewhere in the back of my mind, in a place I had refused to look, I had never really believed that I had been forgiven for my sins, despite the many and regular confessions I’d made from the time I was a young girl…and yet…instead of condemnation, I found a Father who saw only innocence and purity. I found a Father who ran to wrap me in an eternal embrace, who rejoiced at my coming, who saw my return, who saw only through the eyes of merciful love.

I could suddenly see myself as the Father sees me – He doesn’t see my sin. All He sees is my return to Him. Even when I was still very far away, He saw me coming, and even from that distance, He was already rejoicing. And then He ran to embrace me.

I had always longed to ‘feel’ forgiven, as I was sure the prodigal son had felt forgiven when his father embraced him, but soon I realized that the forgiveness was not in the embrace. No. The forgiveness happened long before that embrace. The forgiveness happened in the instant the father gazed at his returning son. Still far away from him, he nevertheless saw the return of his son, and he thirsted for him.”

But remember, we are all a work in progress:

“Healing and conversion take a lifetime. Being transformed by love is not a ‘one and done,’ but a lifetime of building that relationship [with God], increasing in love each day until the day we see Him face-to-face.”

And He can make beauty from ashes:

“Not only is the Lord rebuilding your foundations, but He is rebuilding you with the most precious gems. Each encounter with Him is a new precious stone in the foundation He is constructing in you. The One who knit you together in your mother’s womb and intricately wrought you in the depths (see Ps. 139) is laying your foundations with sapphires, ‘for the Lord delights in you’” (Isa. 62:4).

how to know the love of God

The Light of His Eyes offers a series of honest, heartfelt reflections on the struggle to believe God’s love, and the healing that comes from learning to receive it.

For those who struggle with self-rejection, this book is particularly powerful, as it reminds us that we’re not alone in our wrestling and that our struggle is the very place that God reveals His love for us.

Similar posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.