God’s Infinite Love: My Choice by A.M.

When I first joined assignment group, a senior member of my group told me that no matter what happens in the group, to remember that Rich was always for me 100%.  I learned over time that this was true and that despite whatever happened in group, Rich always had my back.  Even though I was messed up and full of it, Rich still believed in me, supported me, and loved me.  Later I came to learn that this was love and positive regard.

This love was a stark contrast to anything that I had experienced for the first 40 years of my life.  My Dad was anything but loving.  He was a volatile and punitive man and his “love” was conditional.  He was harsh, abusive, and selfish.  I truly feared my father for the first 40+ years of my life.  I see now that he was just trying to get his own needs met, and that he himself had grown up with a harsh and unloving father.

I viewed God as an extension of my father.  I saw him as harsh, mean, petty and unloving.  This was a choice that I made and it colored all of my core beliefs about the world. That took me right up until 2004 or so when I accepted Christ as my savior.  In fact, it took me beyond that.

In 2004, I went on a CLE retreat and experienced Rich’s love in a breath work  exercise.  The next week in church at WCNS, they did an altar call and one of my group members from the retreat joined me as I went forward from my seat.  Shortly after that I was baptized.  It was at that point that I accepted Christ, and my relationship with God began to change.  I began to read the bible and talk more with people about God. And ultimately the door opened for me to change the way I thought about God.

Even after those experiences, I still believed deep down that God was unloving, mean, and punishing.  It is only recently, many years later, that my core beliefs about God have changed.  And I know it has changed because my world view has changed, rather, I have chosen to have another world view and that is only possible because my core belief about God has changed.

It all goes back to Rich and his uncommon love and positive regard for me.  It had been a big leap of faith to accept this as love after what I experienced with my own Father.  I wasn’t always great about taking it in, but when I did, it had a profound impact on me.  I gradually began to love myself.  And I gradually began to accept the possibility that God loved me the same way Rich did, and more.

This all came to a head this summer on a trip to a Willow Creek Camp.  During my daily quiet time with God, I came to see that I did not act in ways that showed that I believed in and trusted a loving God.  I acted as if the world was a place of fear, pain, and scarcity, rather than a playground of abundance and possibilities.  I played it safe, and had a relatively small life as a result.

I had a choice to make.  I could continue to see the world as i always had, or I could see the world through the eyes of a loving and kind heavenly Father.  My experience with Rich in assignment group and on retreats was the means by which I was able to change how I viewed God.  A great verse from the Bible is:

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:11-13 NIV)

When I compared my Dad to Rich, and then extrapolated Rich to God my heavenly Father, I realized that I had underestimated God’s love for me by an infinite amount.  More importantly, I saw that my belief about God’s love and goodness is a faith choice. I can choose to see God as loving and kind and the world as full of opportunities and abundance.  Or I can continue to believe as I always have. This is really a question of faith, since there is plenty of evidence for both.

I have decided to trust God and to and to believe that God is for me 100% (or more!)  I believe that God loves me, and will provide for me, and that the world is a place of promise, of opportunity, and of abundance.

My work is to act out that faith every day.  I need to live a big life, and take appropriate risks.  I need to see a loving God at work in the world, in everything that happens to me, and to see it all as for my good.  It is a choice that I must continue to make every day.

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Published: 30.08.2012 / 05:51 AM

Category: Grappling with God,Podcast,Relationships,Spiritual Growth

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