I remember years ago hearing Brennen Manning for the first time. I had a tape of his talk Ruthless Trust which later became a book. My favorite quote from the book:
“The splendor of a human heart that trusts it is loved unconditionally gives God more pleasure than Westminster Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”, Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, the sight of 10,000 butterflies in flight, or the scent of a million orchids in bloom. Trust is our gift back to God, and he finds it so enchanting that Jesus died for love of it.”
So, do you believe you are loved unconditionally?
What if you just shot up with cocaine? What if you just had sex with a prostitute or looked at porn? What if you just got drunk? Does he still love you?
Brennan had to believe it. He had to because he struggled with alcohol. He remembers binges where he would literally end up in the gutter. In spite of his failures he still believed in the love of God.
So, I have had to believe it too. I have habits and struggles with what we call addictions. Please pray for me! I haven’t been or behaved as someone I am proud of or even happy to be. I have been selfish and stubborn and most of all absent (even though I was there).
I still have to read An Open Letter to a Shitty Husband to wake me up to what a donkeys butt I’ve been (an ass squared) – so I can change. And ultimately, that’s what I’m ready for now. I lost a day of productivity today because I drank too many beers last night. I had nausea and a headache all day. I’ve also developed a new theory about puking.
And yet, in spite of it all and worse I really do believe God loves me. I believe he gently receives me back and holds me in his lap and says, “Let’s talk. I want to help you not to hurt yourself anymore. Do you trust me? Let’d do this together!”
I believe. And in spite of the nausea I also feel a tingle of Holy Spirit joy in the back of my head and a bright hope for the future.
Why? Because my God is a Good Good Father.
He greeted me this morning with one of the first songs my wife and I wrote together called Faithful God. Putting together the following video was about all I managed to do today… beside loving my wife (like really-best-friend-loving-my-wife-for-real!) which, so help me God, is going to turn into a very pleasant habit. Out with the old and in with the new.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
This also means that we don’t stay drunks or porn addicts. We grow into and toward God’s unconditional love that makes us holy. Here is my talk and my song for you: