When times are hard, we often find ourselves questioning God. "If He loves me, why does He allow me to experience this kind of pain?" We see the video footage from Haiti after the devastation of a major earthquake, and we ask ourselves where God is.
Conversely, we praise God when good things happen to us. When we experience the miraculous recovery of a sick family member, or receive an unexpected financial blessing, we feel that God is showing His love for us by taking care of us.
The truth is, whether our circumstances are good or bad, there is only one thing that shows us the extent of God's love for us. Romans 5:8 tells us that "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
We don't know that God loves us because everything in our life is running smoothly. And we shouldn't think that God doesn't love us, even if our life is a total trainwreck. God's love is not dependent on our actions, and it is not reflected in the circumstances of our lives. We know God loves us because He sent His Son as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin. And He did not do this because we deserved it or because of any good things that we have done.
We do not earn our salvation through the confession of our sins or the performance of good deeds. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." All we have to do is accept the gift of salvation that God freely offers. And then we will always know that God loves us, not because we are healthy or have a fine house, but because Christ died for us.