"God Loves Me...No Matter What?"
Sometimes we can't help but wonder: Does God really love me? Even when I feel unloved and unlovable? Even when I really mess up? Here are devotions written by students who've had similar questions—and who've looked to God's Word for life-changing answers.
No One's Unlovable
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)
My mom works with a group that goes to local prisons to share about God. One time I got to go with them. While I was there, I heard one of the prisoners say he thought of himself as "someone God no longer wanted." Then a member of my mom's group read him 1 Timothy 1:15-16, sharing God's mercy to "the worst of sinners." The prisoner accepted Jesus that day.
No matter how much or how badly people have sinned, God's love can still reach them. Even drug dealers. Even murderers. The worst person you can imagine can receive God's forgiveness by humbly asking for it.
There's no such thing as a person God no longer wants. There are only people who haven't accepted his love.
What about You?
Think of someone at school who's always getting in trouble. Imagine God looking right into that person's face and saying "I forgive you." Imagine doing the same thing yourself.
Write today's verses down, or memorize them. You never know when they might be exactly what someone needs to hear.
Thank God for forgiving you, and ask him to help you forgive others.
But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine." (Isaiah 43:1)
This is a verse I'd like to share with my friends. It would show them how much they matter to God. God's not just some mighty ruler who looks down at earth and sees a bunch of nameless people running around. He knows each one of us by name.
God knows our troubles and our happiness. He made each one of us special, and he wants to have a personal relationship with each of us.
When I think of God that way, I realize that he loves me and will never leave me. And best of all, I have God's promise that he called me to come to him so I can have eternal life.
What about You?
How many people at your school do you know by name? How does it feel to have people call you by name? Why is it important that God knows us by name?
Write out Isaiah 43:1, replacing "O Jacob" and "O Israel" with your name. How does your understanding of this verse change when you think God is talking directly to you?
Praise God for creating you and loving you.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
I recently went through a month when I got really depressed. Even when I was with my friends, I felt like no one cared about me. I could barely get out of bed in the morning.
Somehow I had forgotten the truth of these verses. I needed someone to remind me, "Don't think that no one cares about you, because God does!" God still loved me, and nothing was going to change that.
God must really care for us if there isn't anything that can separate us from his love. Knowing I can always turn to him keeps me going during hard situations. He is even there when things in my life are fun and easy. He is there with me through the worst of times and the best of times.
What about You?
How do you feel when you know you're loved?
Think of someone you know who's hurting and needs a little love. What is one thing you can do to encourage that person this week?
Thank God for his constant love.
Other passages to read and study:
Psalm 51:1-2 God is merciful and compassionate.
Psalm 136 God's love is a love that lasts.
Lamentations 3:22-23 He is ever faithful.
Zephaniah 3:17 God delights in you.
Matthew 9:36 He has compassion for the helpless.
Luke 15:3-7 He is seeking the lost.
Romans 5:8 He has sacrificial love for sinners.
Ephesians 2:4-5 His love gives new life.
1 John 3:1 You are God's child.
1 John 4:16 God is love.
Write about each passage in a journal or notebook. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
How does this passage show that God loves you and wants the best for you?
What are three questions you have about the passage? Write down your answers to your questions, then ask a Christian friend or your youth leader how they would answer the questions. Write their answers in your journal or notebook.
Write a poem, a song or a prayer that expresses your feelings about the passage.