Loving father

GENTLE SURGEON

"I love you. I want you to know that. No matter which way things go, I want you to know how much I love you."

In essence, that is the message of your heavenly Father. More than anything in the world, He wants you to know He loves you. That no matter what happens, no matter how things go in your life, no matter how bad things look, He LOVES you. You. Not just in a collective “God loves the world” kind of way. No, He wants you to know that He loves you, individually. Let that sink in. The God of the universe loves you personally and passionately — more than you can possibly wrap your head around.

He doesn’t just want that message in your head. He wants that message so embedded in your heart that you never question it. Because love is the key. Love changes everything. When we view God’s activity in our lives from the lens of love, it changes how we view the past, the present, and the future. It changes how we view suffering and uncertainty. Trust, love, surrender, service …. all those things begin to flow more naturally as we begin to see and experience God’s infinite and all-consuming love for us. No matter which way things go, my friend, He loves you. We can always trust His heart.

God didn’t just intend for His love to give us eternal life with Him forever. But He also intended His love to give us abundant life. Peace. Joy. Freedom. Rest. Right here. Right now. Not just survival. Or quiet servitude. Joyful, abundant life.

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“I love you. I want you to know that. No matter which way things go, I want you to know how much I love you.”

In essence, that is the message of your heavenly Father. More than anything in the world, He wants you to know He loves you.

No matter what happens, no matter how things go in your life, no matter how bad things look, He LOVES you. You. Not just in a collective “God loves the world” kind of way. No, He wants you to know that He loves you, individually. Let that sink in. The God of the universe loves you personally and passionately — more than you can possibly wrap your head around.

He doesn’t just want that message in your head. He wants that message so embedded in your heart that you never question it. Because love is the key. Love changes everything. When we view God’s activity in our lives from the lens of love, it changes how we view the past, the present, and the future. It changes how we view suffering and uncertainty. Trust, love, surrender, service …. all those things begin to flow more naturally as we begin to see and experience God’s infinite and all-consuming love for us. No matter which way things go, my friend, He loves you. We can always trust His heart.

God didn’t just intend for His love to give us eternal life with Him forever. But He also intended His love to give us abundant life. Peace. Joy. Freedom. Rest. Right here. Right now. Not just survival. Or quiet servitude. Joyful, abundant life.

He wants to heal our hearts of those things that are killing us.

Although it is usually painful, God doesn’t reveal anything He doesn’t want to heal. No good cardiologist would ever say to you, “Your tests reveal you have some pretty serious blockages. Alrighty then, now you know the problem. Good luck with that!” Or “Snap! I’ve never seen anything like that before. Not sure what to do about that. Oh well, have a nice day!”

God is a precise, all-knowing Surgeon. But surgery is painful. Your whole heart might have to be exposed. Think about open-heart surgery. The chest has to be cracked open and rib spreaders are used to expose the heart. That is the only way the surgeon can access the areas of the heart that need to be repaired. Even once those areas are mended, recovery can be incredibly long and difficult.

In order to place our hearts in God’s hands, we have to know, to the depths of our being, that the pain that surgery brings doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us. It means that He does. He wants to heal our hearts of those things that are killing us. He’s doing it to bring us life. 

Get to know the Doctor — really know Him — and that will change everything. 

You may think, I already know Him. I’ve known Him all my life. I thought so, too. But often we’ve just “heard” about the Doctor. Or we know facts about Him. So many times, often well-meaning people — parents, teachers, and others — give us information that is incredibly flawed. We’ve relied on others’ opinions or we’ve equated our life experience with who God is. We suffer and so we believe God isn’t good or loving.

In some cases, we don’t need to know more information about God as much as we need what we already know to become deeply embedded in our hearts. Wherever we find ourselves, we all need to experience the love of God more deeply. We need the Doctor to rewire our minds and reset our hearts.

His love changes everything.

He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

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What You'll Learn

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FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS —

We can never fully know God while we are here on earth. However, that doesn’t mean that He can’t be known to us more fully as we open our hearts to Him.

Every parent can remember the moment they first held their child in their arms. Pure love. Absolutely overwhelming love. The parent looks at that precious, vulnerable little life and they’d do anything to protect that child. They want what’s best for them. But as the child grows, the parent knows that sometimes what is best for him or her is going to cause pain.

That’s just a glimpse of how God feels about you and me. He created us. He delights in us. He sings over us. He loves us enough to allow us to suffer at times, because He knows it’s in our long-term best interest. We are the apple of His eye. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Like any good parent, God’s heart grieves when we’re in pain, even though He knows suffering is necessary in our lives and is ultimately for our good.

God wants to be known by us. In fact, He wants to be seen as He truly is so badly that He sent His only Son here to walk the earth so we could see His love and character in the flesh. Jesus died so we could be free from fear of God’s punishment. We just have to open our hearts, ask God to forgive us for our sins and accept Jesus into our hearts as our Savior and only hope.

People — even those who love us dearly — will always let us down. Often, we’ve experienced so many disappointments, so many broken promises, that we’ve been conditioned to expect the worst. We harden our hearts so we won’t be wounded by disappointment.

So when God promises us something, we can often be afraid to embrace it. We want to believe, but our human experience tells us to put our guard up. Total trust becomes impossible. It makes us afraid to give Him everything.

We worry and wonder where God is in the midst of our suffering and heartbreak. We think God has left us. And here’s what I think God says to us: “Other people may have disappointed you and left you. But that’s not what I’m going to do. You may feel alone, but you are not alone. You may not always understand My ways, but you can trust My heart.”

You can trust the love of Dr. God. He’s not just your Physician. He’s your loving Father.  

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Num. 23:19) 

If God really loved me, surely He’d heal me. For years, that thought came to me over and over again. Of course, I knew this was false. But yet I couldn’t shake it. I thought I didn’t deserve it. Gently, God began to bring this question to my mind: What do you deserve? Gulp. Well, I certainly didn’t deserve Jesus coming to die for me so I could live in heaven with Him one day. Here is a hard truth, friends — one that we often conveniently forget: Living a “good” life, believing in God is not a “get-out-of-suffering” free card. We don’t deserve anything. We aren’t entitled to any certain outcome. We deserve death. We deserve nothing.

When God allows pain, He always has a plan to use it for my good and His glory. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us. But honestly, when I’ve been in seasons of terrible, nearly uninterrupted pain, I have just wanted to be delivered. I knew that God has a purpose in my pain —  I didn’t really care at that moment. I knew He was using it to build my character and depth of compassion — but I just wanted relief.  I saw how He was using my pain to help others — and, frankly, I wanted be less helpful. I still sometimes struggle in this way when I’m in physical and emotional pain.

I take comfort in knowing that Jesus struggled too. In the Garden of Gethsemane, hours before He was going to be crucified on the cross, He too asked for simple deliverance: “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.” But then He followed it with: “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:39)

It reminds me that it is an act of my will — powered by the Holy Spirit — to submit to God’s plan, even when it means that I won’t see an immediate rescue from my pain. It is a choice to believe that the God who sent His only Son to die for us loves us passionately, even though we don’t understand why He doesn’t relieve our suffering. Instead of answers, we have to cling to His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deut. 31:6)

I don’t pretend to understand all the reasons why God allows suffering. I simply don’t know. Sometimes I am the cause of my own pain. I’ve chosen at times to do things my way instead of God’s way and I’ve reaped the consequences. In some cases, suffering can be the result of a spiritual attack. At times, God allows tragedy or suffering in our lives for some reason or reasons that we just can’t always grasp. Sometimes our pain is simply the result of living in a broken, fallen world. God gave us the ability to choose, and sometimes people choose to do terrible things that wound others. This isn’t how He intended life to be.

I’m gradually coming to not having all the answers. The more I’ve understood God’s deep love for me in my heart, the more I’ve been able to trust Him with the suffering I don’t understand. It doesn’t mean I like it. It doesn’t mean I don’t ask Him for deliverance and at times unleash on Him all my messy questions, frustrations, and emotions. But what I always come back to is this: He loves me. He has shown me that again and again. I don’t have the answers to all my questions, but His love assures me I can trust Him.

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