Why Won’t God Love Me? (#729)
What if you have searched for a practical expression of God's love for thirty years and have never felt like he's made an effort to reveal himself to you? That's Sean's dilemma and in a personal conversation with Wayne they try to sort out why that might be and how to recognize God as he makes himself known. This is a question Wayne gets often, so Sean has allowed an edited version of their conversation to be available to others who struggle with the same issue in this special one-hour version of The God Journey. (*Special Note: For those that want to discuss this further, Wayne will be hosting a God Journey After-Show at 1:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday, April 19, 2020. If you'd like to be invited to this Zoom session send Wayne an email by clicking on the link below.)
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I’ve been pondering and meditating on the narrative of Mary Magdalene at the tomb (John 20}. She has been traumatized and trauma has an impact on the way we see and creates assumptions on our perceptions. And for her she assumes someone has taken Jesus out and away from the tomb. He is right there, her beloved and she is His beloved, and she thinks he’s the gardener. He calls her name and she is instantly intimately aware of His presence. He speaks to her and says don’t cling. This intimacy and oneness is not for the “having” as something to get. Sometimes I think my desire to have the experience of this intimacy continually is an attempt to possess God’s Love. The more I live Loved my receivers are being healed of their trauma and my attunement of the experience of the Presence is more constant. Empowering me to be more loving all the time. Love this podcast very brave of both of you. Thank you.
Absolutely fantastic Wayne, looking forward to Sunday’s extended conversation ??
Dear Sean, thank you for your deep and honest words. I am deeply moved by your struggle. I so recognised your way of thinking and longing for the presence of God. Jesus is bringing true healing in your spirit. I kind of feel connected because of the great resemblance of your struggle with my own. The Lord has changed me a lot in the past 2 years. But the more than 50 years before were just like yours, Sean! If you would like to get in contact, just send me an email. I certainly would appreciate talking to you. I really feel compassion for you. I pray God will lead you in the right direction. And you as well, Wayne. Thank you both for sharing this deep conversation.
So, I can’t live without The God Journey’s podcasts!
This one was a definite desperate need. Had a nightmare last night about my value being attacked…which brought out deep old feelings. A friend prayed and then this conversation! My head sees God’s love, but my heart is starved.
I’ve listened to old podcasts that has conversations about lies we believe to be true. Those lies block/stop the truth coming in….perception. It is alot of work to seek God, but also it is alot of work to not seek Him. For me if I dont seek Him; thoughts of suicide is hard to out run.
Don’t know what I’d do without these conversations. Definite God send!
Because of the man made divides, sacred/secular, God is found in one setting and not the other.
What if All, is sacred, what if we begin to look at the things we are passionate about, bird watching, sewing, cooking, car races, fishing, reading, gardening, photography, horse back riding, too name but a few, and begin to realize that just perhaps, these are the very places of real intimacy in connecting with the Father of our spirit.
I know first hand that through the lens of my camera, I have discovered a whole new cosmos, just the other day while waiting for my wife to return from her trail walking, right in front of me a pheasant walked across the road, I was ecstatic.
Eric Liddell (a Scottish Olympic Gold Medalist runner) said, God has made me to run, and when I run, I feel his
pleasure. His sister thought that Eric had been detoured from his “calling”, Eric assured her that she was mistaken!
Point being, he went on into China to fulfill the other things God had purposed for his life.
Thanks Sean and Wayne for sharing your conversation. It has left much that I could relate to and has opened some doors into the way I perceive His love or lack. Although I cannot take part in the after chat, would appreciate if it’s made available to listen to (like the last one). Blessings
That was so good and conversation well edited …could hardly tell that anything was missing. I appreciate so much Sean’s willingness to share … i can relate to some of it. So , so good ….thank u Wayne.
Wayne, when you stated, near the end, that the Father is loving Sean to the degree that Sean will allow Him, that struck a chord with me.
I am in a situation where I am caring for someone who has experienced various traumas in their life. I see to this individual the best I can, giving what I can, being present and willing in all manner, but despite the love I attempt to show/give, this person doesn’t trust me, feels I am not doing enough, etc.
This person’s trauma has created a deep well of ‘need’ that no words of love, no acts of kindness, are able to erase. I must ‘prove’ my love again and again.
Unfortunately, I have seen this same pattern play out in MY relationship with the Father. It hasn’t helped that I see others, on YouTube or wherever, who speak so ‘knowingly’ of how the Father visits them in their quiet times, how they see into the spirit, how angels give them messages and on and on. Like Sean, it makes me feel like everyone else has it all ‘together’ with the Father.
So, I better fast more, pray more, sit quietly more. Seeing what other people have experienced from the Father, seems to imply to me that the Father WANTS to do these same things for me but I just haven’t done the right things or ENOUGH of the right things to experience the Father like they have. The things I ‘do’ experience are not enough – “if you love me Lord, show me more, More, MORE”! Something inside me is not letting that ‘well’ be filled. “Why can’t I reach you Lord?” ” Are others so much better than me? ” Yet, if you ask me, I can tell you of answered prayer, revelations from the Word, ‘impressions ‘ I’ve received that directed my path, etc. It just isn’t consistent enough for me. Looking forward to more conversations around this topic.
I have people in my life like you express here. No matter what you do or say, they are always going to twist it to make it look like they don’t love you. It’s a form of manipulation, isn’t it? They can make you feel guilty and trying harder and it is all to get you to do what they want you to do to prove your love. It’s exhausting and there’s no way to win that fight, unfortunately. And, yes, I suspect many do that with God. Until he does x, y or z, I’m not going to trust his love for me. Sad.
One of the greatest hindrances to true intimacy with God are those who boast about their “false intimacy.” Those who hear God every second, have visions and dreams and amplify their thoughts with so-called miraculous encounters really discourage others from the real thing. A lot of that comes from insecurity, of course, so they have constructed the fabrications to convince themselves its real. People who walk in real intimacy with him don’t try to embellish it. He is just with them in life and they see through a darkened glass, picking up glimpses of God. What I know about real intimacy is that it produces humility not arrogance.
It sounds like you’re on a better path and this relationship will grow as you rest into the quiet, rather than try to achieve a productive “quiet time.” It’s a journey. Keep coming.
I don’t know what I said that lead to your opening statement that the Father is loving Sean to the degree Sean will allow him. That doesn’t seem to be something I would say and I think it could easily be misinterpreted by others to say that God can’t love us past our “allowances.” I think I would have meant that we miss seeing how God is loving us because it’s not in the package we’re expecting it.
The premise of “I don’t know how you love me in this moment, but i know you DO…” seems just as much a biased-perception, as “I don’t know how you love me in this moment, but I know you DON’T.” How is “I know you do love me…’ any different in its biasedness, than “I know you don’t love me?” Wouldn’t the most objective position be, ‘I don’t know if you do or don’t love me, but I am opened to finding out?”
Hi Jim. Thanks for your comment. I don’t know that the object her is to be unbiased on this. If you genuinely are objectively neutral about whether he loves or not, then your last statement works. However, I do have a bias that God is always love, always working for my ultimate good and I have more bias against my own conclusions than I have doubt about his love, which is why I pray the prayer I do. I think that’s what Calvary was all about, to bias us on the side of love so that it will be easier to see, rather than be sidetracked by darkness by making God prove it in some way with the result I need. At least that’s how I live it.
I find the matter of experiencing whatever the truth is – he is or is not…he loves me or does not – in an unbiased way to be paramount. For too long I was “certain of his love and believed he was a good father. However, now that seems no more real than me holding one end of a vacuum hose to my ear, and the other to my mouth, and I recite into the hose “i love you, my son.”
I need something that does not depend on me force feeding myself the message of ‘god loves me.’ I do not know of any other way to know if that is real, than come at it with ‘I don’t know if you do or don’t love me, but I am open to finding out.’
Otherwise, I don’t know if anything I am experiencing is other than me.
Yes, of course, this is true at the outset of a relationship. My heart always goes out to those who have not tasted of that love and are therefore uncertain it is there for them. I can’t imagine anything more lonely. But I am not unbiased in Sara’s love for me. Forty-five years of knowing her love wins me into a reality that holds my heart in her hands even when she doesn’t seem to act toward me like I think or hope love would demand. Relationship over time does give us a bias that saves me from relitigating the question and finding that my fears are unfounded, or my insensitivity has gotten in the way. I’m glad you keep coming to this podcast even though you struggle with this reality and I pray for you that you will come to see all the ways he is loving you that you do not yet perceive.
I do not think using a human-human relationships as an analogy of what the human-god relationship is like, is a fair and realistic comparison. “Knowing” your wife’s love over 45 years is filled with the repetition of conversation that you can actually audibly hear, touch that you can physically feel, actions that you can visibly see, choices she makes, sacrifices she makes, her smile, her anger, her subtle looks, her compassion, her remorse, etc… So it seems very likely that you would come to a reality of no longer being unbiased in her love for you. You EXPERIENCE her…
Not so with god. As I have mentioned to you before, whatever sense that god is anything you listed about Sarah, is left to my own subjective interpretation. I used to live that way with god; I just can not do that anymore. It feels hollow, insincere, and contrived. I do not want to BELIEVE anymore, I want to KNOW. Until then, the story of god seems no more real to me than other good stories…sentimental, but fiction.
Correction: Not anything that you listed about Sarah (although it’s likely you would have written something similar, and more…) , however, what I listed about Sarah…
Every analogy to human relationships will break down. My point was, knowing her I don’t question her love on any day, even when it seems questionable. I know you think you’ve reached a purely subjective way to sort out who God is, and I love that you want to know, but the parameters you are using would seem to not be sufficient for you to recognize him. I hurt with your struggle, and that is why in the beginning stages of a relationship it is important to also consider the testimony and help of those who know him and the example of those lives you most want to be like. Beholding the Transcendent One as he makes himself known is quite a thing for his creation, and it doesn’t seem to happen easily on our terms. I would think broadening your parameters a bit might better put him in your field of view.
I am pretty sure I understand your point of knowing Sarah gives you more assurance and confidence and less doubt of her heart for you. And I agree that concept is a good one among people. It seems, however, that we – or at least I – are not given the same experience with god, as we are with humans, to come to “know” and be “more assured” with him, as you experienced with Sarah. And that is my point. I am left with finding another way to connect with the invisible, than the means we all use to connect with each other.
Perhaps you are correct, and I need to broaden my parameters. However, at this point in my life, the suggestion to broaden my parameters, and consider the testimony of others, seem like an invitation into mythological fantasy-based fan-fiction; where I am role-playing with others. I am certain that is not how you think of it, but that is definitely what it sounds like I must do in order to know this benevolent being.
Did you mean to use the word objective, rather than “subjective” when you wrote, “…I know that you think you’ve reached a purely subjective way to sort out…?”
Hi Jim, good open conversation here. I don’t think you should have to force feed yourself that God loves you. I really like how you said experiencing the truth is paramount, I think so too! That’s been huge for me in my faith, to know for myself that God loves and is mindful of me, and all His children. I believe that every person can receive their own confirmation of what is true, including you. You wrote that you’re open to finding out, but how do you think that answer might come for you?
I have no idea anymore, Connor. I have run the gamut from maybe he’ll show in : song, praise, bird, hug, finding a money on the ground, a friend calling me, a rainbow, a breeze, luck , chance, a friend, a sermon, nature, audible voice, finding lost keys, movie, book, testimony, self-will, self-affirmation, a feeling, an impression, a belief, a creed, sound theology, waiting, listening, asking, not asking, talking, not talking, a pets love, etc… other than god showing himself to me like he did Thomas, everything else seems a subjective interpretation that could be me making it up, because i am biased to see it that way.
I’m surprised that I forgot one more way I have thought the answer of knowing his love would come…reading the bible (i did that a lot!)
P.S. Just to clarify, what I think is paramount, is experiencing truth in an unbiased way – as much as that is possible. Otherwise, I don’t know if anything I think I am experiencing is OTHER than me, or if it is filtered through my desire for it to be true.
Hey Jim. It seems I can’t reply to your reply to me. And sorry, quick replies aren’t my strong suit. Run the gamut may be a good phrase I mean you’ve really looked for Him! I think it says a lot about your character that despite your disappointments you’re still here looking. I think belief or faith rather is a principle of action, meaning to me that as we believe in His word and act accordingly, we can recognize the hand of God in our lives and our faith will grow deeper. We can come to know the doctrine by doing the Father’s will as Jesus taught in John 7:17. And remember that Elijah found the voice of the Lord to be a still small voice – 1 Kings 19:11-12. So even without miraculous displays of God’s power in the here and now, we can learn to hear that still small voice, and it will develop our faith. Could I share more by email? I’d rather not take much of Mr. Jacobsen’s space here. If you’d like you can reach me at email@example.com
Yes, sorry Jim, I did mean “objective.” I’ve just got to much to respond to today. As someone who knows it’s not fantasy fan fiction, it seems like you’ve walled yourself into a pretty tight space with those parameters. He still may get through all of that, but you don’t make it easy on yourself. I’m sorry for what you’ve experienced at the hand of religion that has given you such illusions about God and his love for you.
My first reaction is, ‘if I am too much of an obstacle for god, than perhaps his love just isn’t so wonderful after all…” It just seems again and again that if someone is not experiencing this profound love with god, then it must be something distorted in the recipient. Ugh! I know you don’t mean harm or insult, but I am soooo tired of me being the one that has to change something in order for me to know his love. UGH!!!
No, the hand of religion didn’t so much do this. Rather the clarity that comes when pain pulls the curtain back from all my false securities and beliefs.
It just feels like I am too damaged and defective (shame) to ever know what is supposedly so obvious to others.
You want to take this out of the public eye, Jim? If you think it is all false, then there’s no way to go from there. But to believe it exists, and that you’re too damaged to see it, or that you have to do something to make it happen, are the lies I dam trying to nudge you away from. I’m sorry if what I wrote was unfair to you, but I know that religion gives false securities and beliefs to people all the time. They put expectations on God, which as you know, don’t work. I just want you to discover what I know is true for you and I want you to see for yourself.
I’ve got someone in my life right now that thinks I hate them. The strange thing is, I don’t. I actually love them and miss their friendship, but they (with a bit of outside help, I might add) skew every action or overture from me as hateful of him. I have no idea how this got started. We’re not in business together, but he has become convinced that I hate him. Whenever I reach out to open the door he just accuses me of something else. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever been caught in. Nothing I say matters; nothing I do to help restore the relationship is recognized as such. It’s always twisted into something he perceives as hateful. I finally had to take a break from the relationship because it was so toxic and so dishonest.
I don’t think you’re like that guy, I only want to say it is possible to end up in such a state that we miss the love that is right there for us. All he has to do is be open to the fact that he I am not his enemy and he would find out for himself. I see people do that with God, too. It’s amazing how much our thinking can get twisted, especially with the help of the evil one, that we paint ourselves in a corner all the while thinking God has done something to us. .
Jim, if that makes no sense to you, feel free to ignore it. But I’ve known too many who have said to me the things you have who finally found a way through all that to embrace the God they’d been missing for years. “Why couldn’t I see it sooner?” is the question they always ask. I don’t know, this connection to God is an amazing thing and isn’t always as smooth as I would like. I just don’t want people giving up because it just delays the day of their freedom…
Dear Jim and Wayne, your discussion is in a way useful, but to me it also gets a bit grim. What started with the intense and honest, vulnerable talk between Wayne and Sean, has now taken an awkward turn.
Do we help Sean with this?
Maybe you want to discuss further in private?
Sure, what email works best?
And to respond to Jan-Willem, the blog section here is not to help Sean in his journey. That’s what my conversation was for with him. He has others in his life that are helping and encouraging him on his journey. This comment section is to help others process the same concerns in their journeys and find ways to go on in him. This exchange with Jim is part of that process.
It his hard to “help” others we don’t know personally. “Helping” them is not giving them information, even if it has encouraged us. Truly helping comes out of knowing someone and listening with them to the winds of the Spirit that help them discover what he has already been putting in their hearts. Blog comments just can’t do that.
No comment…just praying for this man. I’m here listening to it all…including the interviews! Really good! Wish I could be part of the conversations….I find myself talking to you…do you hear me??? 😉
Nope, sorry. Not that sensitive! 🙂
I like the convo with Jim and Wayne.
I luv the honesty here … keeping it real.
Oh my! It is interesting how the mind can think.it hears a certain thing! Your comment was made at the 57 minute mark. My mind understood you to say that the Father was doing all He could to show love, but was being ‘blocked’ in how effective He could be. BUT, in actuality, you were saying the Father was indeed showing love with NO blockages, but the love isn’t being perceived – is that right?
Our on-gong relationship within the transcendent love of our Father is working in and through everything we are facing, our inability to recognize that reality doesn’t mean that his purposes aren’t being accomplished.
Yes, Sharon and unfortunately it happens for many. If we expect his love to show up in a certain way, we will miss him however he shows up. Letting God do what he wants is an important bit to beholding the kingdom.
I agree with Jim, I am tired of believing by faith alone, I need to know God is there. I believe that a relationship (with God or people) requires two way communication. God’s silence isn’t communicating. As some have said, that it’s our fault that God can’t communicate with us. God is Sovereign, all powerful, I don’t see how anything I could ever do could stop God from doing anything. If God can’t do something because of little old me, then God isn’t all that the Bible claims God to be. Basically put, if God wants to talk to us, there is nothing that could stop Him. I see it like this, only God can stop God. I feel that God’s silence is the cause of so much pain and suffering. One audible word from God would help alleviate a lot of suffering. I need God and Jesus to be directly involved in my life. I don’t know how to build a relationship with God, when God doesn’t converse with me. I feel that God is far from me in his silence. Why do I need more from God? 40+years of nothing from God. Thanks Wayne for the article and God Bless You, in Jesus name, Amen
P.S. Nothing discernable from God
Being involved in your life is exactly what Jesus and his Father want to do, not as controlling despots, but as a friend with all the wisdom in the world to guide us. But I’m one who is convinced that God doesn’t go silent, but he often goes unheard. I wouldn’t and don’t believe he assigns fault for that. Learning to recognize the fingerprints of God in our life and to sense the things he’s speaking into our hearts is the purpose of discipleship, though it has been long neglected in our generations. But no time to learn like the present. Be open to new possibilities and different ways to explore how he connects with you. It obviously is not happening the way you’ve anticipated that it would.