How to really know the Father’s love

Bishop Alan blesses a ‘nest’ for special needs children
May 27, 2022
Families invited to join online World Meeting
May 30, 2022
Show all

How to really know the Father’s love

In the latest in his Voice of Hope series Fr Alvan Ibeh looks at how we can know the Father’s love.

Some weeks ago, during my Sunday homily, I asked parishioners this question; “Have you ever felt loved, especially by God before?”

Almost everyone responded positively. I then changed the question; “Have you ever felt unloved by God?” I could see a few people nodding their heads in affirmation and others shaking their heads in disapproval.

We all know that life is not always fair. No matter how close we may think we are to God, life will happen to us at one point or the other. It is undeniable that our closeness to God is never an assurance that life will always be rosy for us. The question here is this “What happens at that point when I become so overwhelmed and overstretched by the pressures and challenges of life?”

Do I still feel loved by my heavenly Father? What happens when I lose someone so dear to me, even when I prayed and fasted hard for God’s healing upon them? Do I still feel loved by the Father? What happens when I receive a report from my doctor that I have an incurable condition from a medical point of view? Will I still believe in the Father’s love for me? What if, after praying so hard for a particular job but not securing it, will I still believe in the Father’s love for me, knowing that He always has a better plan for me?

One of the greatest deceptions of our enemy, the devil, is to convince us that God does not love us. He will remind us how great sinners we are and how God is punishing us and will never forgive us. He will even use our loved ones to remind us of how miserable our life is and how we have been abandoned by God and far from His love. Remember the story of Job; His wife said to Him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). This was undoubtedly the devil speaking to Job through his wife, to doubt the Father’s love.

I believe we all know that God, our heavenly Father, loves us. He loves us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son so that by just believing in Him, we will be saved (John 3:16).

In case you are in doubt about God’s love for you, I want to make known to us some facts about God’s love for us as contained in the scriptures: God’s love for us is everlasting; “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). God’s love for us is great; “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God, and such we are” (1 John 3:1, Psalm 103: 11). He loved us first (1 John 4:19). He is love Himself (1 John 4:8). He reproves us because He loves us (Proverbs 3:12). His love has been poured lavishly into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us (Romans 5:5). He gave His life for us for love (John 15:13). His love for us is incomprehensible, inexhaustible, unfathomable and immeasurable. Above all, my dear friends, nothing can separate us from the Father’s love.

I will conclude with this passage from St Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:35- 39, and I hope it reassures you once more of how deep God’s Love for you is: “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity or are persecuted, hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?… No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours; through Christ, who loved us? And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s Love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries for tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So dear friend, I want you to know and believe strongly that God’s love for you is so deep that it may sound too good to be true. If you believe it, then let everyone around you know about it.

Pictured above is the crucifixion of Jesus played out in the Norwich Passion Play held at Easter 2022.