Monday night, as our "Love Wins" book discussion came to a close, we mainly discussed the Story of the lost son (which can be found in Luke 15). Rob Bell points out all of the different stories that are going on, and how the two sons are telling different stories than what the Father is telling.
This question was asked...
Have you ever felt like the younger son, in that you no longer felt worthy to be called a child of God?
It didn't take me long to answer, "YES", for I can easily look back and remember feeling that way most days. I remember all those times I felt ashamed and unworthy to even go to God in prayer, because God was angry and didn't want to hear from me.
It's easy for me to imagine what the younger son must have been feeling, because I could, in one way or another, relate. I would always wonder if anything i did was ever good enough, if I really believed the "right" things, and I would think things like "surely a person who is genuinely "saved" wouldn't act like this".
And in oder to get my relationship with God in check, I needed to repent and ask forgiveness, but that required that I talk to God who wasn't speaking to me at that moment. So I would literally give God some time to cool off.
I would have my speech all planned out in preparation for when God had finally cooled down, which often took days in my mind. But did I mean what I was saying or was I merely trying to gain some sort of security? These were also the type of questions that plagued me.
I experienced this story for a long time until I finally realized that this wasn't the story God was telling.
I experienced grace.
God wasn't angry and God didn't need to cool down, in fact, God had been waiting for me the whole time, waiting to run to me, waiting to interrupt my pitiful excuses by falling down at my feet, and God was waiting to restore to me what had been mine from the beginning.
As Bell points out, it can be hell when we refuse to trust God's retelling of our own story. And there are plenty of people experiencing hell due to different stories being taught.
I can definitely relate to the younger son, but then I can definitely relate to the older son as well... Which I will refer to later.
Which story are you telling?