There is so much suffering in the world. Wherever you turn, you don’t have to look far to see the turmoil and despair in people’s lives. It could even be that turmoil and despair are a very real part of your experience right now and you don’t quite know what to do. The struggles and challenges of human life are way too many to list. They range from the emotional, like depression and rejection, to the physical, like joblessness and violence. We all go through tough times at one point or another. For some, sadly, suffering even seems to be a way of life, but when the chips are down and things are at their worst, many times we turn to God.
One of the questions that often comes up in this world of inequality, intolerance and division is: does God love everyone? Does God show favoritism to one group of people and turn His back on another? It’s a valid question, quite similar to one posed in a recent post we did on the issue of Africanness and the perception of it. There seems to be a belief that there are certain groups favored or loved more than others.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am not claiming to understand God or speak on His behalf. However, there are certain things in daily life that should potentially illuminate certain principles to us. After all, it’s science that tells us that all truth is parallel. Let’s use the example of a human father. For the purposes of what we’re talking about here, let’s say that this father has four children. These kids are all individuals and probably have very different personalities and character traits. Being human, they will make mistakes and fumble. They will lose their way at times and say things that shouldn’t be said from time to time. One of the four may even be something of a rebel and upset his father deeply. He may receive the occasional beating and be disciplined a little more harshly than the others. Does this imply that he is loved any less? No. Do the differences between the kids mean any of them is loved more than the others? It shouldn’t be so. A good father’s love is unconditional and equal and, though the expression of that love may not seem equal, his level of love should be.
If we are to look at God as a father, I believe with everything in me – based on the Bible – that He loves everyone. It actually says in the Bible that God loved the world (I assume that means all of us who live in it) that He gave His son for its redemption. This was done as a token and an act of love. So many people often ask the question, “if God loves me, why does all this negative stuff keep happening to me?” Well, just as love can be given, it can be either received or rejected. A lot of us human beings reject God’s love, knowingly or unknowingly. He may love us but loathe some of the things we do. Bringing my own reality into the mix, I am the father of a 3 year-old daughter. I set certain rules for my daughter to follow around the house. I don’t do it to make her life miserable but to protect and guide her. The hard reality is that, if I tell her not to climb the table but she chooses to do so anyway, if she falls and breaks her leg, even the deep love I have for her can’t protect her. Life works on a set of inviolable principles.
If we are to be honest, many of us – professors, politicians, writers, musicians, lawyers, accountants – behave like spoilt, irresponsible children. We climb tables and play on them but then cry foul against God when we slip and fall to the hard floor. God’s love is for all of us but at times that love requires us to be obedient and follow certain rules, even when it goes against what we’d prefer to do. Why? Because we have to have faith that He knows what’s best for us. Having said, I have to be quick to admit that not all the ills that befall us are our fault or can be oversimplified the way I have done here but it’s at least something to think about.
You may come across this post and reflect on your life, suddenly realizing that you’ve been bitter against God and claiming He doesn’t love you, yet your hands aren’t entirely clean. You may even, without knowing it, have rejected His love. Even the best of human relationships go through difficult patches and moments that can’t be easily explained. The best way to keep that relationship alive is to work at it, even when it’s hard. But the important thing is to stick around. If the concept of a relationship with God is something that doesn’t seem to make any sense to you, why don’t you click on the banner below. We’d love to share our experience with you.
What’s your take on this? Do you believe God loves everyone or has He selected a special few to show his compassion? We’d love to hear from you.