I was getting ready for bed when Daniel
“Does God love me?”
Daniel (not his real name) grew up attending church but eventually, his family eventually stopped attending and so did he. He still had a vague belief in God but had never surrendered his life to Christ. He viewed church people as hypocritical and wanted nothing to do with them. That is until Jesus stepped into Daniel’s life and changed it forever.
A Supernatural Encounter
A few weeks ago he attended a meeting of the campus ministry which I lead. A friend brought him, and he enjoyed the meeting even though he was skeptical. But things were about to take a pretty drastic and supernatural turn.
I approached Daniel after our meeting.
“I think God is talking to me about you.” I said. “Could I pray for you?”
“Sure.” he said as looked at his friend who brought him. She returned his look with a knowing smile. This is a pretty typical occurrence in our ministry.
“Do you have an issue in your right shoulder and lower back?” I asked.
“Uh, yeah. I do.”
“I also see that God wants to bring healing into your relationship with your mom.”
At this, he grabbed his jacket, knocked over a chair, and stormed out of the room. His friend chased him. After about half an hour they came back. He gave me a sheepish and apologetic look.
“Sorry for leaving like that.” He said. “I am just going through a lot with my mom right now.”
“No worries. Can I pray for you again? I think God is giving me more.”
I continued to pray for him and God revealed a lot of other things including his suicidal thoughts and much more. After I prayed for him, he was completely healed. I shared the Gospel with him, but he wasn’t ready to take the lead and become a Christian. He was still hung up on his perception of church people, and he had a very difficult time accepting the fact that God loved him.
He left after giving me a tearful embrace, and I knew God wasn’t done with him. I asked to get coffee with him sometime soon and he agreed.
The Conversation that Changed Everything
Several days later, I was brushing my teeth when I received a message from Daniel. The following is the actual conversation we had. I share it because the questions, Daniel had are probably the same questions you or someone close to you have.
Daniel: “Does God truly love me?”
JonMark: “Enough to die in your place so that you could live in Him.”
Daniel: “Then why do I hurt all the time?”
JonMark: “I can’t answer your specific situation because I don’t know the details so here is a general answer:
1. There is pain that we cause ourselves through our own interpretation of events, attitudes, or our own behaviors—whatever the motivation.
2. There is real and unfair trauma in our lives as a result of other’s free actions. We will all one day have to give account to a holy God for the way we treat each other. In the meantime, God can bring healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation in these situations as nothing else can.
3. There is suffering which is not our fault, caused by Satan himself for which Jesus came to set you free.
The answer in all of these situations is to stop running from the God who wants to heal you and free you, and instead accept His gift of love and peace. He entered into our suffering on the cross, He bore the weight of our sins and shortcomings, and He overcame them. He offers us a brand new life as a new creation if we accept it. That doesn’t mean we will never hurt again. It does mean that in the middle of our sufferings, we have peace and joy that transcends the temporal. It means we are never alone, because He dwells within us by His Spirit, and it means that we no longer have to suffer that third kind of suffering—the oppression of Satan—because Jesus will set us free.
Whatever the cause of your suffering, it cannot be because God doesn’t love you. He has entered our world and suffered along with us. He suffered for us. The Bible says that nothing in all of creation, neither angels, nor demons, nor the present, nor the future will ever be able to separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. In your pain, God loves you, and He is offering you hope. Don’t reject it.”
Daniel: “For some reason I’m scared to.”
JonMark: “That’s understandable. It will cost you your old identity in order to embrace a new one. It is hard to let go of pain, especially when we have made our pain our identity. But that truly is the only way forward. We have to shed the old self in order to embrace the new. But on the other side of that leap is joy, peace, and love like you’ve never thought possible.”
Daniel: “I know this sounds dumb but I’m clueless as to what He wants.”
JonMark: “He wants you, man. You were created to live in fellowship with Him. That is what Heaven is all about; knowing and being known, loving and being loved by God. He wants your life. He is looking for you to leave the things that separate you and Him, and turn to Him and embrace Him as your Lord. True love leaves no room for self-preservation. His love for you cost Him everything. He is looking for people who will love Him in return.”
Daniel: “Why does he want me after all the things I’ve done and said? I just feel lost. I want to love him so bad I want to fall to my knees and feel his love and for once in my life to get these voices out of my head.”
JonMark: “He wants you because He created you. He knows the real you; who you were always meant to be. He wants to help make you into that man. You are special because He made you. Period.
My advice is to do it. Fall on your knees and be real with God. Ask Him to take the voices away and fill you with His Spirit. Be real with Him, and He will be real with you.
What you are feeling is God’s presence. He is standing next to you. He has been calling you for a long time, and if you will surrender, He will begin to do things you would never imagine in your life.”
Daniel: “Thank you! I’m crying like a baby but I feel a little lighter in the chest.”
JonMark: “Keep up that conversation with God. He has been waiting for this moment since the day you were born. We can get some coffee soon and talk about what’s next.”
Later, I met Daniel for coffee. He has committed his heart to Christ. He has been reading the Bible and can’t wait to come to our next meeting.
If you’re struggling with these questions, what is true for Daniel is true for you too. Christ died and rose again so that you could die to the old self and live a resurrected life, united with Christ. He wants to bring your into His presence and adopt you into His family. He sees your suffering. You don’t have to suffer alone. Invite Christ into your life, get baptized, and connect with a church that will love you and support you on your new journey.
May God bless you.
Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash