“We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:16-17).
Note the last part of this passage. John tells us we are now living as the Lord lived: forgiving and loving our enemies. There is nothing left in us of revenge, of grudges, of racial prejudice—nothing to condemn us. And now we must know and fully believe the love of God toward us.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Do you see what John is saying? Our love for God is a given, but perfect love also means knowing and believing God’s love toward us.
Moreover, John says, there must be no fear in this love, no doubting it. Why? Because if we doubt his love for us, we’ll live in torment: “Fear has torment” (4:18). Believing in God’s love means knowing he is patient with our failures, day in and day out. He hears our every cry, bottles every tear, feels our anguish of heart, and is moved with compassion at our cries.
This aspect of God’s love is vividly illustrated in Exodus, where the Lord sought to reveal his loving nature to his people. He told Moses, “I am going to deliver Israel,” and Scripture says: “They cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning” (Exodus 2:23-24).
“The Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt…for I know their sorrows and I am come down to deliver them” (3:7-8).
Do you believe God sees your need and condition, just as he did with Israel? We often glibly say, “Christ is all,” yet when we face a crisis—when one thing after another goes wrong, our prayers seem unanswered, and hope after hope is dashed—we descend into fear. Indeed, we succumb to fear. But the fact is, God never forsakes his children in their time of anguish, even when things seem absolutely hopeless. We can always trust Him!