I’ve noticed a trend lately that bothers me. We tend to look at our circumstances for queues as to how God loves us. The word “blessed” pops up all of the time on social media and other places. Good things are associated with God’s favor, with being in the center of His will, and with His love.

It’s harder to boldly claim God’s love when things aren’t going well - when your car breaks down, when the relationship doesn’t work out. It’s so easy to feel abandoned. To wonder why God has left - why He has betrayed you.

I find this in my own heart when things don’t turn out the way I expect. This distrust. This sense of being forsaken. This idea that, if God had loved me, this wouldn’t have happened. These are valid emotions, valid questions. But to assume His love is so tawdry and conditional as to only exist when things are going well is to sacrifice one of the most precious things we have.

What if good things are not a proof of His love any more than bad things are proof of the absence of His love?

Try telling the early Christians, whose “reward” of becoming a follower of Christ was a high risk of a painful, bloody death, that the appropriate signs of God’s love are good houses, perfect health, and ideal relationships. As if God’s love couldn’t show up in an arena with the lions.

Make no mistake, there is biblical backing to believe in a Good Father who gives good gifts. But the constant positive association of good things with God’s love can create a unintentional void in the other direction: something bad has happened, so God does not love me.  

I’ve given this challenge to myself: to believe just as firmly in God’s love for me in the best and the worst times. In this process, I have discovered that there are unique and precious ways to experience God’s love that are only available in hard times. I have never met God’s love more beautifully than in seasons of pain.

Sometimes we only see things we expect to see. If you expect God’s love to show up in your life in any and all circumstances (not just the good ones), it may be easier to see. 

I would encourage you, wherever you are, whatever state your heart or life is in - you cannot lose His love. You have not lost His love. Whether things go well or poorly, His love is there. So lift up your head during the struggle.

His love for you is not up for grabs and never has been.