I Don’t Feel God’s Love

benchA reality that has confronted me the last few months:

I do not, on any given day, operate with God’s love as my background.

When I worship at church, when I read his Word, when I go about my day in general…love isn’t really there. I suppose it took me a while to realize it because it’s hard to recognize absent things that you’ve rarely felt.

Instead, what I mostly sense from God is…a vague dissatisfaction. Criticism. Perhaps annoyance. “It’s never good enough.”

But like a ship tacking into the wind, that’s starting to change.

Even the Cross has never really been a symbol of love for me, I must confess. When I survey the wondrous Cross, my first thought is not, “This is what God did for me.” My first thought is, “This is what God did for me, so you ought to be doing better.” Every time.

This is all true in one sense. We never will be good enough. That’s the point of the cross. Isaiah 64:6 famously says “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” And if we could be good enough, we’d brag of it (and thus not be good enough, lacking humility). God tells us that our “good enough” comes from God’s free gift of grace so that no one can claim to have achieved it through our own works (Eph. 2:8-9).

And there is a striving to the Christian life. We are constantly working towards an ideal that only slowly permeates us and will never be fully realized in this life. Holiness matters. Becoming like him matters.

But along with our absolution and calling, the Word tells us, comes love. 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:11-12)

Along with the striving…empowering the striving, supporting the striving…comes love.

Colossians 3:12 does come with a command, but when God starts getting verbose and eloquent about his love (“dearly”, “delight”, the similes of Psalm 103), that love can’t help but start seeping through my unbelief. Scripture does that.

So I pray what I’ve come to consider one of the most vital prayers in all of Scripture.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19)

“Filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

I want this fullness to be my daily noise. My platform. My foundation. My fuel. The program running in the background.

May it be for all of us this week.

35 thoughts on “I Don’t Feel God’s Love

  1. Thank you for your authenticity, Brandon. Your honest humility lends credibility and power to each of your posts. I am grateful for the love and grace of God that you speak of in this wonderful post. God bless you big time as you encourage each of us!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I have struggled so deeply the last week with feeling loved by God. It is a new struggle for me, which came up out of the blue. But I looked at my friends lives and felt like God had moved in everyone else’s life. He had blessed all but me. I sought the Lord’s hand instead of His face. 3 days ago, I wrote out Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 to remind myself of God’s love. In an overwhelming, God-like fashion, there have been several bible studies come up regarding God’s love during this time. I do not think any of these things coincidence. When it feels like silence from the Lord regarding the desires of my heart, the Lord has surrounded me with messages of His love. And has used this post to do it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Brandon, I’ve always so appreciated your ability to remain vulnerable on the page. Thank you. That’s an area I must always think about as it doesn’t always come naturally with me. Your words resonate, as this has been a journey for me for many years now. I’m finding that the more I ask to know that love, the more amazing God becomes. Keep searching and asking. For in finding God’s love, we find Him. I’ll be praying.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Brandon, I resonate with this too. No matter how much we think we get God’s unconditional love, we live in a world that conditions us to strive.
    Thanks for bringing to remembrance the passage in Ephesians… I need to pray it over myself too.
    I love the way it exalts us to pray that we would know something that surpasses knowledge! I get the feeling we can know God’s love more and more yet will probably never be able to exhaust it’s measure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel this way too a lot of the time. It’s really hard for me because often I don’t “feel” much of anything and other Christians around me seem to feel a lot. I’ve started realizing though that it’s kind of the same way in my other relationships though, so maybe it’s not such a bad or unusual thing. I don’t feel super passionate about my husband all the time. There are moments yes, but the vast majority of the time, I don’t. The same is true with my friends and family. While I still have the longing for deep feelings for God, I have to remind myself that ultimately love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action, a choice. I chose to do many of the things that I do because I choose to love God and do what I think He wants me to, whether or not I feel anything. I always hope and pray that I will have those passionate, intense feelings of love for God in special moments, but I accept that it won’t always be that way and that doesn’t mean I love Him or He loves me any less. Thanks for opening up about this. It can be a hard thing to talk about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a good point in that feelings aren’t a reliable barometer. I could probably have clarified further that even my intellectual guesses of God’s stance towards me don’t often go beyond criticism. All is fine; this just means that I need to sample God’s writings to me for the sake of both mind and heart!

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  6. I think as long as we think God isn’t satisfied with us, we cannot feel love for him. It has been very hard all my life to believe God loves me. The Bible says so, but I always felt I wasn’t good enough, I sinned too much, loved the world too much, ate too much, drank too much etc.

    I think a lot of Christians focus on our works and growth. It is so hard not to. One thing that has helped me is the verse that tells us not to worry about anything. I figured that included my sins and mistakes, so I decided not to worry about them. It is God alone who does the works in us. All we can really do is pray and study the Bible. God does everything else. That is what Righteousness by Faith is. That is what the Protestants died for. We can’t earn salvation by growing, doing good works or becoming like Jesus. Salvation is a gift. As long as we see God as someone wanting something from us in return for his love and being all cranky about it, we can’t love him very much.

    I’ve had a hard time with all this. I used to be afraid of God. I’m not at all anymore, but I do feel like a failure as a Christian a lot. I am trying to believe he loves me just the way I am. I pray to love him with all my heart, and I have to leave that with him since I can’t do anything righteous. We cannot trust our feelings about God. We cannot trust our feelings about ourselves. It is like Joyce Meyer says, we need to speak God’s word out loud and say we believe it, no matter how we feel. “Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is honest and inviting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts boldly and openly. I have struggled with this truth more often that I’d like to admit. I must admit it though, so that by the graceful power and mercy of God, I may begin to transform yet again.

    This morning I spent an immense amount of time in Chapter 13 of John. I have read it time and time again, and still in the airiness of the morning with my bible laid open, I read it again, and yet it was the first time.

    Jesus washes the feet of His disciples. He says without the act of washing their feet His disciples would have no share with Him. Jesus says in response to what He did (in paraphrase), “I do these things as an example, so that you too, will do these things for one another”. He says our bodies only require a bath to become clean, but the feet… Those need to be washed (And I personally believe this to be in reference to the need of repentance) To continually wash and refine one another.

    He also says about Judas Iscariot – the one he KNOWS will betray him – that he was the ONLY ONE out of His disciples that was unclean. This means that Peter (Although Jesus knew he would deny Him, was in fact clean, and still called to wash the feet of others (Just as Jesus instructed).

    The point is that Jesus LOVES us so well. The truth is that He knows where we are, where we come from, and where we will go. He is currently preparing a place for us, because as children of God who seek Him amidst the brokenness of this world, we have chosen to live after His Spirit and not after the flesh. He still partners with us for His glory. He still encourages us. He still has compassion on us – To express that I agree with what you said above in regards to His compassion.

    Jesus DOES love you. SOOO much, He loves you. He sees you and He still loves you. The only thing we are asked to strive towards is to enter His rest. When we accept His love we are given the gift of peace.

    Hopefully this is at least a little bit encouraging to you. 🙂

    -Heidi, The Talking Sunflower

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Yes! I am right here with you. I think a lot of us are. I am constantly searching myself and I have to admit, it gets overwhelming sometimes. But then His love speaks to me, it is not me, it is Him, He is in me and I am in Him and He is in the Father. Identity, my brother, we find our identity in Him. I know you know this, but it is always good to have the reminders. God knows I need them too. Loved this post and your transparency.

    Liked by 1 person

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