The note was not meant for me, but God has a way of getting our attention in the midst of the mundane.
Several years ago I bought a used Charles Stanley book on Amazon (see picture above). I have a passion and love for used books. The book was an excellent read and I do recommend it. However it was a mysterious letter in the book that piqued my curiosity.
When I open the book the letter tumbled to the ground and rested on the shag carpeting. It was folded sharply as if it had been living in the book for quite a while. I unfolded it and to my surprise I became an observer in a conversation from a dad to a son. The dad had sent his son this book in hopes that he would he read it and possibly discover his potential for God.
The letter was dated September 4, 2012 and I received it via the book sometime in the winter of 2016. I anxiously read the letter wondering what the dad could be wanting to communicate to his son. In the letter the dad encouraged his son to go back to church even though the son was upset over something a pastor did to him. The dad described the actions of the pastor as “the actions of a man.” I could identify with the son, having gone through an unpleasant church experience myself.
The dad pleaded with his son to “open his heart” and he went on to say that the Lord loved him.
The ironic part of it all is the date of the letter and it’s content. In September of 2012 was around the time that I was going through an extremely difficult time in the church that I worked at. Everything happens for reason and when I received the letter I was reminded that God loves me even in the messes that I create. God loves you as well. God does not judge us, but rather wants to be in the midst of our mess. I believe this is the meaning of Genesis 3 when God was looking for Adam and Eve to go on a walk yet they hid. If you will, God wants to go on a walk with you.
God’s love for us is unconditional however we learn conditional love from those around us. I have noticed in my life how I often attribute meaning to people’s actions and words. While the actions or words are neutral, I have witnessed myself put a negative spin on it. Why did I do this? It was natural based on my experiences and the way I grew up.
Essentially it was learned behavior. For awhile after I left that church I would have flashbacks of my negative experiences and found my heart racing as I felt the negative critical emotions again even though I was in a different state. I was not there and that moment had passed yet here I was on jogging in a neighborhood feeling the way I did as I sat in the chair in the pastor’s office in trouble again.
Through the process I realized that God always loved me and that I needed to take ownership of my life, thoughts, feelings, and just about everything else. When I took ownership I realized that my problems were no longer problems but opportunities for me. In fact, I spent much of my life pointing the finger at others when I should have been in looking at the guy in the mirror.
You might be wondering how did things turn around for me. This is the subject of the new book coming out August 21st called The Power of Ownership. I share more about the journey and what God revealed to me through it all. I believe if God can work this in my life then it can happen for anyone.