Disclaimer – These thoughts are simply how I see life and I only share them because I was prompted to. Everyone has their own relationship with Father, and will see life differently. 🙂
The easy answer to this question is, YES, Absolutely!
The harder side to this question is, Well what does that mean? What does that look like? Why don’t I feel it?
The answers to these questions will be different for everyone, as we all have different backgrounds and a different story. One thing will always be the same though, and that’s Father!
The best way to think of Father is like a healthy, well adjusted Father! He loves all his children deeply, and nothing his children can do can change that! His love for his kids is not conditional on their behavior, and it doesn’t come and go!
He loves everyone on the planet, and desires a relationship with everyone. Unfortunately, not everyone knows him, or refuse to believe he exists, so only those who believe are in a Father/child relationship. When you accept salvation through Jesus, what actually happens is that you enter a relationship with a loving and awesome Father. Like any relationship, it takes time to develop and grow.
Some may stay in the first stages of a new relationship. They know Father exists, and believe his promises, and believe they are saved, but never persue the relationship deeper. They may read the bible and listen to endless sermons, but never realize that Father is intimate and can be known better than the most loving human relationships. They may not feel loved, because they (unknowingly) are at arms length from Father, never actually engaging the relationship. Doctrines and theology are not a relationship. Attending church is not drawing close to Father. Reading the bible is not a conversation. Many well intentioned Christians don’t feel loved, because they believe the enemy’s lie, that Father cannot be close and intimate in every part of life!
Another reason some Christians don’t feel loved, is they bring their world view with them, and how they were raised has a massive impact on how they feel and view Father. He may be stern and harsh, distant and cold, ready to punish, not present at all, a vending machine, Father Christmas, or any other view which comes from unhealthy parents. This is subconscious and almost invisible, but it taints their life with Father!
Some Christians don’t truly believe in grace, and still feel that what they do every day, will determine whether they will have eternal life or not, and that their actions will either give them favor or bring anger against them. It is impossible to feel truly loved, when it is conditional on your behavior.
Some Christians have suffered horrible lives, and traumatic events. They may believe that Father is somehow responsible for their pain, or they may believe that he allowed it to happen, so is responsible somehow! It is very hard to feel loved when your parent has allowed or caused great pain!
The Christians who feel the most loved by Father, have journeyed with him long enough to trust that, no matter what life may bring, Father is good! He is a healthy and well adjusted parent, and this is how he parents us.
If we have the eyes to see it, he guides us when we are newly in a relationship with him (perhaps like toddlers/young children). He provides safe boundaries for us, and holds and comforts us when we fall over and hurt ourselves. Safe boundaries and unconditional love.
When we mature in our relationship with him (teenagers?), he gives us the freedom to live our lives, explore and grow. He doesn’t burden us with rules and have us under legalistic family structures, as some human parent do. He wants a free and loving relationship, based on respect and joy. A teenager who feels loved and accepted, will come and tell their parents everything! struggles, disappointments, wrong doings, addictions etc, and the parent will listen, accept them, love them, and help them through their struggles. Offer advice (if asked), chat through healthy options and explore the natural consequence of where some behaviors and thoughts will lead.
Father does all this and much more, if we realize that he is that Father!
Another area a healthy parent shines in, is training and guiding their teenager.
Initiation of boys into men, teaching them how to be men, modeling it and drawing it out of them. Teaching their boys what being a loving husband will mean, what loving their wife unconditionally means. Giving them freedom and teaching what responsibility means, so that the two work together in harmony.
Growing daughters like flowers. Watering them with love, showing them that they are beautiful and captivating to the core. They they have the right to be pursued by a loving man, and they can expect only to be loved and cherished. That anything less is not acceptable. They also model and show them how to be gracious and how to treat a man with respect, not because he deserves it, but because Father loves them to the core.
Obviously not all parents get it right, being broken people themselves, so Father will step in and father us, where our human parents failed. If we allow ourselves to be guided and loved through life, he will wrinkle out our broken places, and teach and model healthy characters.
We will shine and do ‘good works’ simply because we are in a dynamic and loving relationship with Father, never the other way around. Healthy lives will bubble out natually, behavior done out of guilt or obligation is not healthy.
So to answer the main question, we are absolutely loved, and if we see and believe that Father is loving, present and active in our life, just like a healthy and well adjusted father, we will grow to feel loved, no matter what our background or brokenness!