I slid off my chair and onto my knees. I leaned my forehead on the chair in front of me and felt the music vibrating through my body. A discussion from one of my classes ran through my mind. “Peace with God is called unconditional surrender,” Dr. Hoskins had said. I opened my clenched hands and put them on my knees. Okay, God, I prayed. I’m not sure what to do about all this. Show me what you want, though, and I’ll do it.
There was no flash of lightning or instantly clear thought. There was just me, on the ground, thinking about the decisions I needed to make. I shifted from my knees and sat cross-legged. Pros and cons raced through my mind. I knew what I wanted to do, but I also knew my heart. I knew that my motives were mixed. They always had been, and they probably always would be.
I’d been on the ground for about ten minutes when the song changed. The first notes from the piano sank into my soul and around me, a few hundred college students started to sing. I bowed my head and listened.
Oh, how he loves us so Oh, how he loves us How he loves us so
Cold from the tile floor seeped through my jeans and I shivered. Why can’t I seem to believe that? The question surprised me. I thought I did believe it. I thought I’d mastered by now what it means to be loved and to act with that identity. As the chorus continued, the truth settled in like a ton of bricks.
You keep coming back to the same questions and the same prayers because you’re afraid. You’re afraid that you’re going to do the wrong thing, and if you do, you won’t be loved anymore.
I knew the right answer. I knew that who I was did not depend on what I did. I’d gotten pretty good at talking about it, too. But I still didn’t believe it.
As the service ended, someone got up and read from Romans 8. The words were sweet water to my parched, weary heart.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
Adoption. Sonship. Abba. It’s a status that I did nothing to earn, and it’s one that I cannot change. Who I am is not what I do. Who I am is a child of God. So I will keep praying, but I will not be afraid to leap. I might make the wrong decision, and I might fail. But failure will never be who I am, and it’s not who you are, either.
Who we are is secure in who Jesus is.