Reflections on Loving God #2: God Loves You through the Gift of Your Life

Reflections on Loving God is a series about understanding love, seeing how God loves you, and learning how to love God more. God has loved you before you were born. Take the first step today to loving him back. You won’t regret it!

How God Loves You

God loves you so much, he wants you to be in heaven with him for all eternity, but God is holy. Anything that is not holy cannot be in his presence, so God gave you life on earth to grow in holiness. God is all-knowing (omniscient), so he knows everything that has and will happen to you. While still respecting your free will, he somehow uses every moment of your life for the purpose of helping you become holy and make the choice to be with him in heaven (predestination, CCC 600). God has already loved you by giving you this life and putting you on this path to holiness, but he continues to love you every moment of your life, guiding you to heaven.

You have bad times and good times in life. During bad times, you make mistakes or others treat you badly and it causes you to suffer, sometimes greatly. Whatever the case, God knows exactly where you are in holiness. He knows exactly what virtues you need to grow in or sins you need to conquer to be with him in heaven. That bad time didn’t just happen randomly. God saw the possibility for you to grow in a virtue and permitted that time of suffering so that you might be one step closer to heaven.

God is not the cause of your suffering and doesn’t want you to suffer, but God is able to use all things for his purposes. His purposes in your life, indeed all lives, all come down to teaching you to love. He wants you to love him and everyone else in your life. Growing in holiness is simply growing in your ability to love others. God wants you to give everything of yourself to the people in your life, holding nothing back.

Just when the bad times become unbearable God gives you a break with good times. God knows when it’s too much. He knows when you need rest. He gives you what you need when you need it. The good times are not just about resting though. During these times, God shows you how much he knows the deepest longings of your heart. He gives you what you need uniquely in that moment to be happy or pleased. He does this because he loves you but even more, to give you a taste of heaven. That pleasing moment is just a taste of what God has in store for you. He knows exactly what you need and will gladly give you that for all eternity. All you have to do is love him and his creation, your fellow brothers and sisters on earth.

In summary, think of every moment of your life as part of your path to being with God, the one who loves you. No matter what’s going on, God is there helping you learn the truth. The truth is the only thing that matters is love. That is what your heart desires. That is what God desires. You’ve resisted love so many times and chosen evil instead. Why not put an end to that today and commit yourself to love always?

Prayer to Love God in Every Moment

Lord, help me to see the work of your hands in every moment of my life. Grant that I can accept the bad times as part of my salvation journey and see the good times as a taste of your loving plans for me in heaven. My God, I put my whole trust in you to lead me to eternal happiness. Amen.

Your friend in Christ,
Jared

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God’s Will vs God’s will

It can be confusing when studying the faith because there are many words and phrases that seem to have more than one meaning. God’s will is one example. Many times I will see it used in this way:

If you do God’s Will, you will get to heaven.

Here, “God’s Will” is just a shorthand way of referring to God’s overall set of rules for us to follow. There’s the commandments and other rules from the Bible, plus all the rules from the Church’s doctrine. Those would all be God’s Will, in a sense. God truly will’s us to follow these rules. The reward is a place in heaven. To do God’s Will would then be to follow God’s laws (CCC 2825). Here is another way I see God’s will used:

It was God’s will that I got hired for the job.

In this sense, “God’s will” is used like the idea of destiny. “It was my destiny that I got the job.” This is a much more bold claim to make. Anyone can say we need to follow God’s laws, but for a person to say God personally directed something to happen in their life is a little arrogant in my eyes. It may be completely true that God did make something happen for the person, but there’s no way to know for sure. For the most part, God does not predetermine what’s going to happen in our lives. He gives people free will to make decisions (CCC 1036).

I think it is best to avoid using God’s will to refer to destiny. Better to say, “God answered my prayer, and I got the job.” Even then, however, the reality is God did not force the manager to hire the person. At most, God planted the idea in his head that this person would be a good hire. The manager still had the free will to choose who to hire (CCC 311, 1705). Prayers are not useless — they have an effect — but they will never force someone to do something.

Throughout this article, I used a capital ‘W’ to refer to the phrase meaning God’s laws and a lowercase ‘w’ to refer to the meaning about destiny. I will try to remember to use capital and lowercase letters if I write any future articles using both phrases. I like my writing to be as clear as possible though, so I doubt I will refer to destiny using “God’s will”. I will only use it as the Church does, about what God wants Catholics to be doing.

May God bless you with his abundant grace,
Jared