Do You Really Believe God Loves You?

In his book With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God, Skye Jethani tells of his meetings with college students from the House of Despair, an “underground safehouse” for those struggling with the difficult issues of life and faith.
 
Around their Christian campus, these students were known for numbing their pain with alcohol, drugs, sex, and, most curiously, raw conversation. When they met with Jethani, he insisted that they recognize only three rules: be honest, be gracious, and be present. Their range of subjects had no limits. One week it might be the doctrine of hell; the next about the pressure to find a spouse.
 
One night the subject was destructive habits. One student told his story, which turned out to be typical of many: “My parents were students at a Christian college in the early 90’s when a revival broke out … A bunch of grads that year became missionaries and pastors. They were on fire for God. And here I am consumed by sin day after day. I don’t feel like I’m suppose to be here. I know I’m not who God wants me to be.” Other students shared similar stories, often through tears, about how disappointed God must be with them.
 
After listening to these stories, Jethani asked, “How many of you were raised in a Christian home?
 
They all raised their hands.
 
“How many of you grew up in a Bible-centered church?”
 
All hands stayed up.
 
“This in incredible!” Jethani said, shaking his head in disbelief. “You’ve all spent eighteen or twenty years in the church. You’ve been taught the Bible from the time you could crawl … but not one of you … said that in the midst of your sin God still loves you.”
 
Jethani concluded: “I did not blame the students for this failure. Somewhere in their spiritual formation they were taught, either explicitly or implicitly, that what mattered was not God’s love for them, but how much they could accomplish for Him. That night I finally understood why they called it the House of Despair.”
 
The real issue for you today: How deeply do you believe that God loves you? And that is love for you is unconditional – not dependent on what you have done, are doing, or who you have become at this point in your life?