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“I Don’t Think God Loves Me”

(Source: VOM Radio. Condensed and edited.)

Almost 20 years ago, missionary pilot Martin Burnham died in a gun battle. The battle was between men who had kidnapped him, and soldiers who were trying to rescue him and his wife, Gracia, and other hostages.

Before Martin died, the kidnappers had forced Gracia and Martin to live with them in harsh conditions in the jungles of the Philippines. Friends and relatives in the United States took care of their children Mindy, Zach, and Jeff. Gracia struggled to forgive their captors, but it was very difficult. Read about her struggle here.

During their captivity, Gracia also worried that God might not love her anymore. In a recent interview on VOM Radio, she told host Todd Nettleton how God, the Bible, and Martin helped her understand God’s love.

“There were days when I thought God had forgotten us,” Gracia told Todd. “There was one day about 10 weeks into our captivity, I decided God didn’t love me anymore. Because if God loved me I wouldn’t still be here, because we had been begging Him to get us out of there. That led to depression and being hard to get along with and crying all the time.

“I was sitting by the river one day, and Martin came and sat down and said, ‘Gracia, it is so sad to see you giving up your faith.’ I said, ‘Oh, I’m not giving up my faith. I still believe that God made everything and Jesus died for our sins. I just don’t think God loves me.’ Martin very gently, as always, said, ‘Oh it seems to me that you believe it all, or you don’t believe it all. You need to decide what you believe.’

“I sat there and thought, okay, Scripture tells me that God loves me, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; with lovingkindness I have drawn you to myself’ [Jeremiah 31:3]. I started thinking all those verses about love, and I thought, okay, maybe I am not feeling it right now, it is not working for me, but God’s Word says that He loves me. I am going to take God’s Word for what it is, and I am going to believe it. I am going to hang on to it with everything I’ve got, because I am in a bad place and I can’t help myself. I may as well let God do it, right? I looked up and sought the Lord and came to know Him in a whole new way.”

To Do
Memorize three Bible verses (or parts of the verses) about God’s love. Here are some suggestions.

*Jeremiah 31:3
*1 John 4:8
*Psalm 36:7
*John 3:16
*Romans 5:8
*Psalm 86:15