Post details: For years, I had tried to earn my share of God's love.


Permalink 11:12:47 am, Categories: GraceHead teaching, By Trent, 1185 words   English (US)

For years, I had tried to earn my share of God's love.

I had just turned 14. As a new member of the youth group, I was nervously excited to go on my first church retreat for the weekend. It was February in Texas, and that meant perfect weather: warm sun, cool air and not much rain. I could not wait, little did I know that kind of LawHead surprised was waiting for me.

My parents just joined the church and being a younger member of the 100+ youths in the church should have made me afraid that I would be picked upon. But, my brother was two years older and he was going also. So, bursting with curiosity, and bridled by the shyness that comes with unfamiliar territory, I headed off for the weekend.

I thought that retreats were about fun, but I soon learned that our minister would have an intense lesson in store. The theme of the retreat was "Asking God for Forgiveness." Sounded fine to me. Well, at least it was a teaching about something to do, which meant that we weren't being given a bunch of stuff that we ought not do. (I was a typical youth that had very little interest in learning what I should not do.)


I was told that sin separates me from God, and that as long as I have unconfessed sin, I would be separated. I was told that if I want to be near to God, then I should endeavor to remember each and every sin that is in my life. Sins of commission and sins of omission. Sin, sin, everywhere a sin-sin. I took it very seriously, and when it was time to pray, I would pause and recollect all of the sins of the day, and ask for forgiveness for each one.

Well, the retreat ended on Sunday, and that Sunday night I decided to practice what I was taught. I started off, with a few sins that I could remember, and then a few more for good measure. By now, I had been praying for about 10 minuets. I wanted to stop, but I keep thinking about the sin separating me from God, so I thought harder. I wanted to make sure that I remembered all of them, and asked for forgiveness for all of them so that I would not be separated from God. In a panic I said, "Lord, please forgive me for everything that I did that was sin."

Suddenly, I heard what I was saying as something very familiar. This is what people pray when they become a Christian. Had I lost my salvation? Had each unconfessed sin moved me closer to hell? If I sinned and forgot to confess, would that sin separate me from God forever? According to what I had learned: YES.

I became angry and began to lash out at God. "What kind of salvation is this? What a joke! If it is up to me to maintain it, then count me out!" I shook my fist toward heaven, "I don't even want your 'salvation' it is a ridiculous curse."

"I am through with you, God. You can deal with me when I die, but not here on Earth."

Yes, I cursed the Gospel. I slammed Jesus and what He did on the cross. I rebelled and told God to shove it. I did all of this, serious as a heart attack.

By mentioning death and after I die, I thought it best to continue. "If you want me in Heaven then fine, but I don't want you in my life."

At this point I was upset, and I cried and clutched my pillow, saying all of this in my heart so I would not disturb my brother sleeping in the same room. A darkness flooded my heart.

I felt empty and shattered. Giving up on the religion that was so important to my upbringing and family was tough, and I wondered if I had made a mistake. And yet I knew that I wanted nothing to do with asking for forgiveness. I am not going back, and that is what made me despair all the more.

I sat wondering if my weakness is what kept me from God. Why could I not be as strong as I thought others were? My creator can never forgive me and it is because if my inability. So, were the thoughts of a burned out 14 year old.
In desperation, I wept even more bitterly. With the same ferocious nature as my curse, but now with more passion and stubbornness, I lifted my eyes once more to heaven. I cannot say what flooded my mind as I sobbed, but I can only remember begging God to show me the Truth. "God! WHAT! IS! I T !?!?!?"

"What is it?" … have you ever asked God that question? What is the point, what is meaning, why am I here, and where did I go wrong … rolled up into one.

No sooner had I asked and the reply came. So loud and pure that a thousand trains could not drown it out … in a voice as brilliant as the white light of the sun. In clarity that four-stories of speakers could not represent … the answer came from the mouth of God, and shook my soul, as it had never quaked before. Deafened in the sound of …


That is all that He said and that is all that needed to be said. It echoed for hours in my mind, and made such a lasting impression on my soul that I cry at the drop of the hat, and 14 years later, I cannot even bless the food without weeping like a baby. "I love you, thought you curse me," "I love you, though you shake your fist at heaven." "I love you, though you want nothing to do with me." I love you and there is nothing, nothing, nothing that you can do to stop me!" "You can forsake me, but TRENT, I LOVE YOU!" It plastered me to my bed, and I curled up into the fetal position, exposed and unafraid - basking in the radical love of God.

How do you perceive the love of God? Is it stubborn or fickle? Does it have anything to do with your behavior, or does it spring spontaneously from our Creator? Can you impeach the love of God by what you do? Can you invoke the love of God by what you do?

What was revealed to me is tugging at your heart, you want to believe it and rely upon it. Believe it. Rely upon it. Let God love you.

For years, I had tried to earn my share of God's love. But, trying to do that only pushed away the understanding of it. God's is love. It is not about how lovely I am, it is about what He is. God is love … the most concise and profound words ever uttered. God does not have love, He does not offer love, He does not fall in love, but God IS love.

The love of God will always spring spontaneously from Who He is.

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Comment from: Mrs Zeke [Visitor] ·
Trent I believe this also I can't earn it..

It is what I hold on to everyday while my viscous mind reminds me of all I have ever done wrong.

It is what gets me up everyday regardless of the circumstances

It is why I can have hope and why I can extend that hope to every single person on the planet

It is why I understand that our, or at least my understanding of love is a drop in an ocean so large it can not be conceived

It is the only thing in this entire world I can hold on to and won't let go of me.

It's everything
Permalink 02/28/06 @ 12:22
Comment from: Ike [Visitor]
I am with you. God does love all, despite what they do, despite their sins, He hates not one. What a wonderful testimony of God's love, and I thank you for sharing it. I too live for that love, even when God has shown me things, and I have forgotten or gone against them, through ignorant or rebelious sin, He is always patiently there waiting for me to recognize this, and partake of the sacrifice of the Son, made for me, that I might be healed and made anew, in His name. Praise God for His unending love.
Permalink 05/10/06 @ 15:37
Comment from: Alexander [Visitor]
Trent, this is so beautiful, and so true!! That is the biggest problem for Christians; we have the mindset that we have to earn His love. We think we have to transform ourselves to be suitable for His love. Little do we know, we already have His love, and it is security in that love that transform us and make us new creatures. It is by that love that we are made new, by that love that we are created, by that love that we are living. That is the meaning of life, to embrace the love of God and to love Him, that is why we were created in the first place!!
Permalink 09/28/09 @ 10:25

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