2 Corinthians 13:14 “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Paul is not merely repeating himself when he adds, “and the love of God” to “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” While this love is just as unearned, just as unconditional as his grace, the emphasis here is upon the deep and infinite concern and affection God has for you.
Maybe that is not difficult for you to believe right now. But times are certainly coming that will challenge that faith. A number of years ago I received a phone call from a man who was part of a Bible study group in another church. He was desperate for some assurance that God loved him. It seems that whenever this Bible study group got together, the other members were always celebrating the latest successes with which God had blessed their lives: promotions, raises, engagements, new children, new homes, etc. It seemed that they were marching triumphantly from one victory to another. This gentleman, on the other hand, had a life that seemed to be falling apart. He lost his job and couldn’t find another. His wife left him. He was behind on his bills. “Why doesn’t God love me?” he wanted to know. Or at least, how could he find some assurance that God did love him?
Did God ever say he didn’t love this man? Did he say he loved him less than anyone else? Where is that written? No, God never said that he loved this man any less. But sometimes we get the idea in our heads that God must love us less when it looks like he blesses the lives of other people more. If you haven’t experienced this already, there will be plenty of times when you will be tempted to think that God has turned his back on you because you aren’t as popular, or healthy, or rich, or talented, or happy as someone else.
Do you know that there is nowhere in the Bible where it says we should judge how much God loves us by how happy we feel? The only thing you need to know to know that God loves you is his promise. And we have that promise right here! “…the love of God… be with you all.”
God goes with you with his love. This is the love of the God who reveals himself to us as our true Father in heaven. As a human Father I know love sometimes required me to make my children unhappy. It would have been easier, but I would have loved my children less, if I let them get away with their naughtiness. I needed to make them unhappy when they sinned. It would be easier, but I would love my children less, if I solved all their problems for them immediately. They learned and they grew when they had to live with some things for a while. They also came to appreciate my help more. The very things that make us unhappy are often our heavenly Father’s tools to correct us and draw us closer to himself in a relationship of love.
Of course, that doesn’t mean his love is all hard-nosed and practical. He loves you passionately as well. Do you suppose that he isn’t moved when you are suffering in some way? Remember his words to Moses at the burning bush, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…” Do you suppose that God is anything less than genuinely joyful to have you belong to him? Then remember the forgiving Father in Jesus’ parable of the lost son: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
Whether or not you think you can see it in your lives, God loves you all the time. Whether or not you can feel it inside, the love of God is with you, because that is what he promises.