God knows pain. He knows more than anyone else the pain of being treated as unlovely. All of mankind, His creation, turns their attention away from Him and towards other things. Even the most devout have moments where “self” takes the throne. God longs for each person He has created to live in their true identity, the identity He gave, the identity he restored in Christ. God longs for us to know how great His love is for us. We are not left to identify ourselves as a only His creation but to receive His love as His child. While God longs for us, collectively mankind responds with disdain. Many turn some ebbing affection toward Him but even the sum of these moments is still a vastly outweighed by mankind’s love for other things. There is no doubt that God knows what it feels like to be unloved.
What do you do when you feel unloved? Personally, when I feel unloved by someone, I ultimately want to get as far away from that person as possible. I do not tend, however, to flee immediately from those who do not show me love thinking that if given time the relationship will change. Sometimes this approach works out and at other times it does not, I have stories of each. In the end, we eventually leave behind the people who do not love us, because (if we are healthy) we are drawn to relationships in which we are loved. One-sided relationships are draining.
Our proclivity towards building relationships with people who love us is what makes God’s story such powerful and mysterious GOOD NEWS! While He was not receiving love from us, God sent his son, Jesus to restore our identity as His children. In chapter 1 verse 21 of Colossians, Paul calls us God’s enemies. God sent His son into enemy camp where he was not surprisingly treated much like his Father; denied, rejected, cursed and hated. God let his enemies sacrifice His son for the payment of their (ours and everyone’s) sins.
I confess that sometimes have to work hard to remind myself that I am loved by God. I get caught up in all the reasons that He should not love me. But if I just stop for a second, while the enemy wages war in head, to think about what it says about God, that He sent His son to die for the most messed up version of me (and you), the God hater version, I know I am loved. If that is not love then nothing is.
We are drawn to relationships where we feel loved and here is God who loves us like literally no one else ever would. When everyone else would run away rather than be treated the way we treat God, He came down to us. When I am feeling lonely and unloved I need look no further than God who is always there and whose love is unmatched. I am not saying this as one who is there yet. Many times in those lonely and unloved moments I retreat to things that do not satisfy me for long and I push God away. God carries all those painful moments, when I turn to those other things and though he could walk away or remove me from existence, he remains and by His love so do I. I am drawn to this relationship with God because of His love and as I grow in my understanding of that love I will surely need nothing else to satisfy me.