Sometimes it feels like God doesn’t love us.

Seriously.

We’ve heard the marketing: “For God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son…” If we accept that God created from the overflow of love that He was as the Trinitarian community (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) then we know, or have the head knowledge, that God loves us. His love is unconditional, free to all if we’re willing to accept it. Yet, it doesn’t always feel like he loves us. Even buying that love can come in a variety of forms, I’ll just say it, sometimes it feels like He doesn’t like us. Like we’ve done something to earn His wrath.

That’s the rub, isn’t it? We’ve come to feel like God’s affection, that day-to-day sense of Him caring about us is somehow dependent on what we’ve done or haven’t done. Those of us married or with children–though I suppose any sort of relationship will do–know the duality of “I may love you, but I may not always like you.” And that’s how we sometimes feel God is with us – the angry spouse giving us the silent treatment. Or we being the children sent off to our rooms to thing about what we’ve done wrong.

I’m not saying that feeling is unwarranted. Heck, we’ve probably stumbled onto a theological truth. His silence can make it feel like my spiritual life amounts to little more than me talking to my imaginary friend. Or like a child chasing after the affections of a withholding parent.

It’s hard to see the greater good to the silences or the profound truths that await discovery in the feeling of absence. Nor how hard times might be prods driving us to further dependence on Him. What we do see, however, is the circumstances wherein we typically derive our sense of happiness going to pot. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s doubly tough, and feels like God doubly dislikes us, when it seems like we are being punished with continual life setbacks while He seems to be rewarding those that have screwed us. While we have no insight as to how God is working in their lives, we end up wondering what sort of love He promises to give us.

You know what? It’s okay to wonder about this. I guess for me, faith boils down to this: to understand mystery, you have to think with the heart. I want to make the most of this gift called life. I remember what gives my life meaning. Friends, family, loving people period. Autonomy is not all it’s cracked up to be. And I do this in light of something bigger than myself. A belief in God. Because believing in people–in our ability to do right if left to our own devices–seems so ludicrous that believing in God seems downright rational.

Wrath James White gives an interesting insight into his views of what’s life all about as an atheist.

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