“We have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:16-17, NKJV).
Note the last part of this passage. John tells us we are now living as the Lord lived, forgiving and loving our enemies. There is nothing left in us of revenge, grudges or racial prejudice, so we can now fully receive the love of God toward us.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).Do you see what John is saying? Our love for God is a given, but perfect love also means knowing and believing his love toward us.
There must be no fear or doubt in this love. If we doubt, we’ll live in torment: “Fear involves torment” (see 1 John 4:18). Believing in God’s love means knowing he is patient with our failures day in and day out. He hears our every cry, bottles every tear, feels our anguish of heart and is moved with compassion.
This aspect of God’s love is vividly illustrated in Exodus, where the Lord sought to reveal his loving nature to his people. He told Moses, “I am going to deliver Israel,” and scripture says, “Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God” (Exodus 2:23).
“And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land…to a land flowing with milk and honey’” (Exodus 3:7-8).
Do you believe God sees your need just as he did with Israel? We often glibly say, “Christ is all,” yet when we face a crisis we succumb to fear. Let us embrace the knowledge that God never forsakes his children in their time of anguish, even when things seem absolutely hopeless. We can trust him!