Here are 3 answers to the question, “If God loves me, why won’t he give me the relationship I want?”
1. God’s Love for You Is Ultimately Expressed Through Glorifying Jesus Christ in Your Life
Perhaps the most common sermon in America is the one that basically says, “God loves you.” There is no message that is preached more often that this one. However, perhaps one of the most least preached messages in America is “How does God show his love for you?”
Most Christians know that God loves us, but there is a disconnect between what the Bible says regarding the ways God will show his love. This is a massive topic that really requires a whole book to fully explain, but if you wanted to cut right to the most biblical answer, in my understanding of Scripture, the way God shows his greatest love for us is by glorifying Jesus Christ in our lives.
Sometimes God will bless us with material possessions. Sometimes he will answer the prayer which brings healing to our bodies. Sometimes God even brings the marriage we desperately wanted. But sometimes he doesn’t? So when God does not answer our prayers the way we asked of him, does this mean God does not love us?
No, it does not. God shows his love for us by doing what is best for us. And what is best for us is to glorify him. But how do we glorify God? The only way to glorify God is through Jesus Christ. Therefore, God shows his love primarily by giving us opportunities to allow Jesus Christ to be lifted up in our lives. Sometimes this happens through good things and sometimes this happens through bad things. But either way, everything in life is ultimately meant to bring glory to God.
Perhaps one of the best places to see this truth is in John 11 when Jesus allows Lazarus to die even though he could have healed him before his death. John 11:3-4 states:
So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’”
Jesus could have healed Lazarus from sickness. But rather than show his love for Lazarus in that way, he let Lazarus die so he could raise him from the dead. God showed his love for Lazarus by doing what would bring the most glory to himself.
So one of the main reasons God does not answer every prayer, like the prayer to be in a specific relationship that you really want to be in, is that God’s primary concern is with blessing you through allowing you to glorify him. We won’t always know what God has planned for us, but we can always know that God’s main desire for us is for us to bring him maximum glory which then brings us maximum joy.
2. Because God Loves You, He Allows Your Personal Choices to Matter
Another answer to the question, “If God loves you, why won’t he give you a relationship you want?” is that God also shows his love for you by respecting your humanity. One of the key ingredients to being authentically human is free will. If we are just wound up toys doing what we are preprogrammed to do, we are living in a predetermined world and all of this is meaningless.
God would never take away our ability to choose because then God would be taking away our capability to love. Love can never be forced. It must always be given freely or it is something other than love. Because God wants us to love him like he loves us, he gives us the freedom to make good and bad choices that have serious consequences. For as Jesus said in John 7:17 (NIV), “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
Here we can see that we do need to exercise our freedom to choose obedience. The reasons these truths are important to mention when answering our question at hand is because God will sometimes not give us what we want because sometimes the responsibility for gaining this desire depends on our actions. God respects us too much to override our choices.
If you are making unwise choices that are stopping a relationship for occurring, God will not take away your freedom to make these choices. If God did take away our choices, this would be a lack of love for us because he would be removing the point of existence. If our choices don’t matter there’s really no point for us to exist. God has given us freedom because he wants us to freely obey him and truly live our lives for his glory, which is the freedom given to us when we are saved through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Perhaps God Is Trying to Give You the Relationship You Want, You Just Don’t Know That You Want It Yet
Many times we imagine a relationship with someone even though we have never actually been with this person. When you imagine being with this person, perhaps you think of how you could both serve God together, how much love you would share with each other, and how great you would be together.
But again, this is simply your thoughts at this point because you have not actually experienced these things you are imagining. One possible reason God is not giving you the relationship you want is because he knows this relationship would not be anything like you are imagining it to be.
Perhaps the things you are imagining in this relationship will actually be found in reality in a different relationship. Sometimes in love God does not give us what we ask for because he knows there is something else we will be much happier with in reality.
The relationship you think you want might not actually be the one you truly want. We have to trust God. If he is saying no to a relationship, we must accept that he has a good reason to do so.