Does God really love me? Not in a general sense, or as one of many, but me...personally. And how can I feel, not just know, that I am loved?
Nothing impacts our lives more than this. Because without it I feel alone. But not just alone in my room, alone everywhere – cosmically alone. This sentiment was captured by science fiction writer Sir Arthur Clarke, "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both ideas are equally terrifying."
But when I feel genuinely loved by God, my heart is, as John Wesley said, "strangely warmed." And it is not "heart" in some esoteric sense, but physically. A Comforter's warmth spreads from my heart throughout my body and mind. Peace. Calm. Faith. Trust. And even when my circumstances appear bleak.
This is something real. It is not merely self-talking my way into a better state of mind.
So what can we do about it? How do we experience this feeling of being loved by God?
Here's how it happens for me. I begin the day by meeting with God and praying back favorite Scriptures to Him...
Father, I come to meet with you and I pray that you will meet with me, your much loved son. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God – and that is what we are" (1 John 3:1). (I frequently include other great love verses such as Ephesians 2:4-5 and John 17:23. Often, I will personalize the Scriptures, for example changing "the love the Father has lavished on us" to "the love You have lavished on me," and so on).
Lord Jesus, I come to meet with you and I pray that you will meet with me, your much loved friend and servant. You said, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you" (John 15:9). And, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I call you friends, for everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).
Holy Spirit, I come to meet with you and I pray that you will meet with me, your much loved vessel. "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us" (Romans 5:5).
Prayer. Scripture. The truth of God's love. Genuinely feeling loved by God. It's going to be a good day.