Does God really love me?

Does God really love me?

I've been through a lot of tragedy in my family, and now I find myself wondering if God even exists.
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Dear Dawson, I wish I could say I believe in Jesus and that he loves me, but I no longer believe that. I've been through a lot of tragedy in my family, and now I find myself wondering if God even exists. If God loves me, why doesn't he show it?

I'm so sorry about everything you've been through. Your letter is so painful. I can't fully understand-and no one really can-how deeply you hurt.

You're caught up in three devastating feelings: hurt, abandonment and doubt. None of those things are easy to go through. But there's one thing very certain about what's happening in your life right now: All the pain you're going through will change you. For better or for worse, it will change you. During difficult times, you either get stronger in your relationship with Christ, or you get weaker. You never stay the same.

While you're in the middle of your agony and pain, it's hard to see things clearly. And sometimes when you're suffering, it's quite difficult to see God's love. I think about Job, a man in the Old Testament who went through extremely difficult times. He lost his whole family, virtually everything he owned, and went through terrible sickness. He felt like you do now.

Look at what Job said during his most painful times: "If I go to the east, [God] is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him" (Job 23:8-9).

And now I want you to understand exactly what Job later understood: That no matter what you feel or what happens, God does exist and he deeply loves you. No matter how awful things become, no matter what happens, we can never be separated from God's love.

God hasn't forgotten you. And even though it might not feel like it, he is still in control, holding you in the palm of his hand (Psalm 139:10).

God has a plan for you. So, even in the middle of all your heartbreak, tell God, "I'm going to hold on and wait for you to show me your kindness, your love, no matter what happens."

I want you to be able to say what David said in Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

If you do that, I know what will happen. You will come out of all the pain and be a much stronger person. You will say what Job said right after he voiced his doubts: "But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).

So, hang on. I know you can make it!

Dawson McAllister is a popular youth speaker with Shepherd Ministries. He also has a live, nationally syndicated radio call-in program for students ("Dawson McAllister Live"), at 8 p.m. (EST) every Sunday night. Call your local Christian radio station to find the show in your area. You can also check out his site on the Internet (http://christianradio.com/dmlive).

Got a question about the Christian faith? Send it to "Dear Dawson," Campus Life, 465 Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188. You can also reach "Dear Dawson" via fax (630-260-0114).

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