July 27, 2018

Love Hurts God the Most

Gary Thomas — 

I’m hurting. You’re hurting. Everyone, it seems, is hurting.

While we remain so sensitive to our own pain, let’s pause for just a moment to consider the pain God accepts when he adopts us as sons and daughters.

God knows that answering our cries for mercy and saving our souls will cause him more suffering than ten thousand women in labor.

We will betray him. We will resist him. We will fall away on many levels. He will pursue us, he will discipline us, accept us back, and forgive us.

He will ache as we bring untold misery into our lives through our disobedience because now he is watching a daughter or a son ruin their worlds. Every act of rebellion, every unkind word we utter to others, every self-sabotage is like one more dagger thrust in his side. We’re his children. He can’t stop caring.

Still, he will be patient even as we blame him for the pain we brought into our own lives by going our own way. He warned us. We pretended we didn’t hear. And then we blame him for the fallout.

Still, he loves. Still, he pursues.

Knowing how much pain one sinner saved costs him again and again (not just to save us—that was paid two thousand years ago—but to keep us), it’s amazing our Heavenly Father doesn’t say the quota is met and he can’t take it anymore, won’t pay it anymore. Adopting sinners has become too painful, too costly, it’s overwhelming. He’s reached his end. No more adoptions. No more salvations.

But that’s not what he says; not even close. He says “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Though the pain and cost to him for every saved soul is beyond measure God still calls and still saves and thus… still agrees to hurt.

God hurts for you, and keeps hurting for you, like you have never hurt for anyone else.

When your spouse breaks your heart, when your kids take you for granted, when your parents disappoint you and your friends betray you, you know love hurts.

Just remember, however, that love hurts our Heavenly Father most of all.

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14 responses to Love Hurts God the Most

  1. This reminds me of a Psalm that jumped off the page at me one morning during my devotions. “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭7:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    I was arrested by this truth then and reminded of it in your excellent post. I can’t comprehend feeling indignation every day! God isn’t like us for His thoughts aren’t like ours, but He reminds us how much we are like Him, made in His image. He still weeps over us and with us. Such an encouragement!
    Thank you Gary!

  2. Powerful and sobering.

  3. Lindsey Pennella July 31, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Gary this is awesome! And it is hard for my little mind to get around the fact that love hurts God the most. As I have journeyed this life – along many many hurts and woes as a wife and a mom – love is a risk. It’s a risk we all take. And in the life of this risk, hurt is most assuredly going to set in at some point because of imperfection. What an incredible thought to internalize the fact that God hurts MORE than I have. Thank you for this. Much needed friend.

  4. Thank you, Gary, for the reminder that God’s Never-Ending Grace is always there for us, no matter how many times we hurt God’s Heart. This is the True Blessing of the Christian Faith!

  5. When our prodigal went astray almost 10 years ago, a friend reminded me that God was the perfect parent and every one of his children are prodigals in some way. God’s unconditional love for me convicted me that I should show the same toward my son and He had taken me on an inward journey to reflect on the very thing you touched on in this blog. Instead of dwelling on the hurts and heartaches my child has caused me, I’ve asked my Heavenly Father to search me… try me… and show me to me! It has softened my heart and kept my focus on how I am as His child, and helped me leave my child in His capable hands.

  6. sue and him caldwell July 27, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Praying for yall..
    Joy of the Lord is your strength! yay

  7. So true, Gary. I have often wondered how His Great Heart is able to bear the grief of all of His multiplied millions of children. We know from Genesis 6:6 that He feels that grief deeply. So grateful for His overflowing mercy.

  8. Sharon Bennett July 27, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Thank you for being so blunt and so honest. This is what I needed to be reminded of.

  9. What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul!

    Thank you, Jesus, for bearing the great cost of saving me!

  10. I needed to hear this today. Years of manipulation and lies from my parents have led to estrangement while my soul heals and I work on building healthy boundaries. Every word that slips through from their side (through well-meaning family members or letters) is hurtful and weaponized.

    Yet through all the pain, I have an amazing God who loves me and hurts for me. For choices I have made and for the pain I have inflicted on him by my own sin and rebellion. Praise God for his saving grace. And for his compassion and forgiveness.

  11. Hi Gary, I always am blessed by your insight. This blog is no exception. It reminded me that the Holy Spirit can be grieved and His passion “quenched” by our actions and attitudes towards other people and God.

    Thank God for forgiveness.

  12. Wow! This was insightful. Even when we did not cause the pain in our lives at a particular instance knowing that God has so much true empathy for us in our pain is comforting. When others are saying oh just move on just forget about it God gives us perfect empathy because He has felt that same pain. (I know this was a nit off topic but it is where my mind went while reading this blog post)

    • Actually Christ the God man experienced pain
      unpercievably more than human pain physically, emotionly, and spiritually! God the Holy Spirit does grieve over our unrepented sin. He must know our pain since some that are overwhelmed by their pain whatever the reason don’t even know how or what to pray. So He shows he feels and understands by interceding for us in groans that words cannot express. Now that is real compassion and empathy through amazing grace!

  13. Thank you Gary for providing this true perspective. We have a 19 year old rebellious son. He has been in rebellion for the last 5 years. It is so hard to see him rejecting the Lord he surrendered to when he was 6. We have 5 kids. He was our strongest warrior.
    As much as it hurts to see him scurry off alone to smoke dope, or drink alcohol, it hurts our Father God more! We are trusting God to do the work in his heart that only He can do and bring our son back to His flock. Please dear Father!