“If you loved me, you wouldn’t…”
We say this when someone who is supposed to care about us is not responding as we hoped or expected. The underlying message is, “If you loved me, you would keep me from hurt, struggle, and difficult times.”
1 Kings chapter 17 raises this issue. As the chapter begins, God is taking care of Elijah’s needs in the face of a drought and king Ahab’s anger. God gives Elijah a place to hide, a brook from which to drink, and birds that bring him food. But then the brook dries up.
“God, if you loved me, you wouldn’t dry up the brook.”
Then God directs Elijah to a widow in Zarephath who is supposed to feed him. But when he gets there, the widow only has enough for one small meal.
“God, if you loved me, she wouldn’t be running out of food.”
The widow obeys Elijah’s instructions and they wind up with plenty of food. But then, just as everything is going well, the widow’s son dies.
“God, if you loved me, you wouldn’t have allowed him to die.”
Then, God uses Elijah to bring the son back to life…(and the saga continues.)
Why is it, when things are going well, God seems to allow something to mess it up?
I believe these unwelcome events are important and necessary. How would the hero of a story ever gain the trust and loyalty of others if they never faced a villain or threatening situation?
In 1 Kings chapter 17, each time there’s a dead-end, God reveals Himself in a new and powerful way. And each time God meets the new challenge, the people become stronger in their faith and more confident in their God.
The thing that makes us say, “God if You loved me you wouldn’t…,” is the very thing God uses to show His love for us. Because it’s the difficulties that develop our faith and trust.