A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one
another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye
have love one to another.
But how do you feel God’s love?
From The Official Blog of Thomas Mitchinson, Illinois Committee on Publication
*photo from www.allposters.com – Jacob wrestles with the angel
Painter Eugene Delacroix (1798 – 1863) miraculously survived five brushes with death to become the leader of the French Romantic movement. Primarily self-educated, Delacroix learned to paint by copying renowned artworks in the Louvre. Later, his groundbreaking use of color distinguished his dramatic interpretations of scenes from literature, mythology, religion, politics and history. He also painted several monumental murals for a French palace and two museums. Delacroix created a remarkable 9,000 artworks during his life, deeply inspiring Van Gogh, Renoir and Seurat.
In a recent blog post I wrote that God’s love was powerful enough to break through loneliness. One reader asked me, “But how do you feel God’s love?” A very valid question.
I think the best way to answer that question is by personal experience. Speaking for myself, let me share my answer: I feel God’s love by acknowledgment. There have been times in my life when I have felt utterly alone. I knew that God’s love could be felt, but I seemed separated from it. The way I broke through this barrier was to acknowledge God’s presence. To me, God is Spirit, and so – everywhere. God must be where I am. It helped a lot for me to talk to Him, acknowledging His presence, such as “Thank you, God” etc. I found this useful, and soon felt God’s love.
I thought it might be helpful to have some of my friends answer this question also. Here is what they shared:
“One way that we can feel more of God’s love in our own experience is to make a concerted effort to be more loving to those around us. The more that we find ways to share our own expression of love through kindness, patience, charity, and forgiveness, the more we will see and feel the love of God filling us up. I think of it like an equation: God shares His love with us so that we can then share it with others, and as we share love with others, we can then feel more of God’s love.” – Mark
“For many years I was quite frustrated that my husband rarely said “I love you.” One day I realized instead of focusing on what he said as an indicator of how much he loved me, I needed to look at what he did. Then, I began noticing all the little things (and sometimes, big things) he did for me, without saying a word, without calling attention to himself. I chuckle now to think that where I thought there was a deficit of love, there was an ample supply!
“I think discovering God’s love for us is similar. We need to look for the evidence of that love, and gratitude is a great place to start. A friend once suggested I start a “gratitude list.” Grudgingly, I agreed because I was quite sure there wasn’t anything good going on in my life! It took a while, but I persisted. Then one morning, I thought how thankful I was to have hot water in the shower. That may sound silly but this humble start transformed my life. The mass of unhappiness and loneliness I’d been feeling was gradually pecked open and replaced with hope. I stopped wishing for happiness because I could see good was present in my life. God was loving and caring for me in a way I could see and feel! And, that hope led me to trust in God to provide for me in many tangible ways – in relationships, career choices, even conquering depression.” – Linda
“I find it very helpful to ponder: what is the message of joy, friendship and love coming from God that I can share today? This helps me to discover fresh possibilities for me to be more attentive, considerate, kind, and unselfish. And, as these loving qualities become my companions throughout the day, the feelings of loneliness cannot remain in my thought but vanish away.” – Emilio
“Once in the library, I overheard a discussion between two guys at a nearby table. One said to the other, “God is loving, kind and caring because the Bible tells us so.” Yes, I thought, that’s true, but something welled up inside of me and I thought further, “No, God IS love. Yes, He is loving and caring, but He is so much more than that. God IS love!” This thought felt so big, so tremendous, I had to sit back for a bit and let it settle in, but it didn’t let me stay still. The idea that God’s entire being – His nature – is love, energized me, lifted my thought and my heart so much I just had to engage with the world around me. The daylight that surrounded me as I left the library was brilliant – a day that I am sure was gloomy and overcast when I arrived at the library. Now, everywhere I looked, I could see Love, God – in the beauty of the trees and flowers, in the joy and camaraderie shared with students along the way as I walked, in the light and warmth of the sunshine that surrounded us all. I spent the rest of the day pondering this idea, trying to understand it better – and still am in many ways.” – Betsy
“I feel God’s love in a general sense whenever I open my heart to the larger picture, and behold the wonder of plants growing toward the light, a flock of birds moving together in perfect harmony, the rapture of a symphony, a baby looking adoringly at its mom. But I have felt God’s love most tangibly when I have reached out to God with all my being. When I have completely yielded all thought of my own and realized that my very being is rooted in God. I have realized that even if I don’t understand Him/Her as I would like—or even at all—God understands and knows me and that releases me from my woes and envelopes me in a tangible sense of the presence of divine Love.” – Craig
“I can share what’s been helpful to me when literally alone in a new city or a new job. I have asked God as a caring Father to guide me to be wise and to be a good listener in the course of making friends. There has always been someone who looked like they could use a friend, someone with whom to strike up a conversation. Taking the initiative sometimes pushes me out of my comfort zone. Most importantly, it means admitting that God sees me as worthy of offering and finding wholesome relationships.” – Sandi
“I know exactly what you mean. Feeling God’s love can be the easiest or the most difficult thing to do, depending on what’s going on in my life at the time. When I’m happy, it’s easy. But when I’m feeling sad, worried, angry or resentful, it’s much harder. When I feel this way, only prayer can help – a prayer that reminds me that God is always present, always caring, and that I CAN feel this love and care in some tangible way because God’s love is also practical.” – Jane
“No one is ever outside of God’s tender, loving care. I’ve known struggles with loneliness. But, I have felt God’s love when helping others find their happiness. When they find their joy, I feel joyful. I know that we are just a thought away from feeling so cared for by God.” – Barbara
There are many ways to find and feel God’s love. My deepest hope is that everyone reading this does feel His love, and that it brings health and joy into their life. Readers of this blog: why don’t you share how you’ve felt God’s love in the comments section below?