His Love is Overwhelming

This email arrived in my inbox this morning and I wanted to share it here, not for the kudos it offers to me, but for the encouragement it might offer others who live where this woman has lived. I hope we all know by know that only God can win someone to his love and affection. Don’t get me wrong. That some of the things I’ve been involved in provided a conduit for him to be revealed in her is wonderful and encouraging to be sure. But the larger story is of how God makes his love known to people who have not known a lot of love in their lives. I want to share her story because I know there are hundreds if not thousands like her out there.

They were raised in the demands of a religion devoid of love. They didn’t find it from their overly-religious parents, and never found it whatever kind of “faith community” they were raised in. But God never gives up. He pursues us with a love that can overwhelm all of our failures and hurts.

If you’ve never known God’s love for you, don’t give up. Just keep asking him to make it real to you. And if you know God’s love be aware that some person like this one may cross your path today and perhaps God can give them a glimpse of himself through you. Perhaps a smile or a gracious word from you might open a door that will allow God to find someone he has been looking for, for a long time.

Words will not come close to expressing my thanks to you for your book He Loves Me. I was born into a pastor’s home. There was no real love but lots of condemnation. I didn’t hear God’s love preached from the pulpit. My childhood was an extremely sad place. When I was six I went forward to accept Jesus as my Savior six nights in a row at children’s camp. When my father asked me why, I replied, “Because I’m not too good saved yet”.

That has been my journey. No love at home so I couldn’t believe that God loved me. To say I have struggled with God would be a huge understatement. I have walked away for years at a time, come back when I was hurting from my choices of looking for the love and approval I so sought.

Last June after a particularly hard time I heard about the book The Shack. Oh my goodness! It tore apart all the false beliefs and showed me a Papa I had longed for. I’ve shared that book with my friends and talked about it to anyone who will listen! Over the next months I read So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. That book knocked my socks off. Then came along He Loves Me. “WOW!” is all I can say. Papa will have to bring to your heart the understanding of how powerful your book has been in my heart and my life. It has changed everything. Even that is a big understatement.

Wayne, one day we will meet in heaven and I just to warn you, I am going to be the one who jumps up and down telling you about how Papa used you in my life. We are now studying your book in our Bible Study and the women are loving it. Thank you for the remarkable work he doing in my life because of finally understanding HIS LOVE.

I think God did let me in on what happened in her heart. I teared up reading this. I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who has never known love to find for it full and free inside God himself. Isn’t that what the gospel is all about? We all have a Father that loves us more than anyone on this planet ever has or ever will.

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14 Comments
  1. Theresa March 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Wayne- I know you’re not looking for kudos but this email reminded me of the first time we read “So You Don’t Want to go to Church” as well as your blog.
    The “we’re not alone” feelings were gloriously overwhelming.
    Thank you so much dear brother!
    Theresa

  2. pam hogeweide March 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    how humbling and honoring when our small lives can in some way reflect that Great Big Love. It’s so great to read her account and how the words of books became light for her. This is why we write.

  3. Amy March 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    It is about time we are all honest about the way some of us were “brought up” in the “church.” And to be able to stand back and look at how far Father has brought us out of expectations to expectancy.
    Awesome.

  4. Linda March 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Your comment about the letter, “that we have a Father who loves us more than anyone on this planet ever has or ever will” speaks to my feelings as a divorced person. I am a single mother, did not choose to lead this life, but am thankful that it has brought me to a place where I walk and talk with Father intimately. Not only do I find acceptance in my Father, but in the life you and Brad share on the God Journey, amazingly there IS room for everyone. I have not found that to be the case in organized religion for the most part. I particularly enjoyed your story about the compassion you showed to that single mother who was your waitress. I can just imagine the sigh of relief she breathed that day. Thanks for sharing your journey with me and accepting those of us who feel unacceptable to so many.

  5. kent March 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    It is awesome Amy

  6. Theresa March 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Wayne- I know you’re not looking for kudos but this email reminded me of the first time we read “So You Don’t Want to go to Church” as well as your blog.
    The “we’re not alone” feelings were gloriously overwhelming.
    Thank you so much dear brother!
    Theresa

  7. pam hogeweide March 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    how humbling and honoring when our small lives can in some way reflect that Great Big Love. It’s so great to read her account and how the words of books became light for her. This is why we write.

  8. Amy March 27, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    It is about time we are all honest about the way some of us were “brought up” in the “church.” And to be able to stand back and look at how far Father has brought us out of expectations to expectancy.
    Awesome.

  9. Linda March 27, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Your comment about the letter, “that we have a Father who loves us more than anyone on this planet ever has or ever will” speaks to my feelings as a divorced person. I am a single mother, did not choose to lead this life, but am thankful that it has brought me to a place where I walk and talk with Father intimately. Not only do I find acceptance in my Father, but in the life you and Brad share on the God Journey, amazingly there IS room for everyone. I have not found that to be the case in organized religion for the most part. I particularly enjoyed your story about the compassion you showed to that single mother who was your waitress. I can just imagine the sigh of relief she breathed that day. Thanks for sharing your journey with me and accepting those of us who feel unacceptable to so many.

  10. kent March 27, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    It is awesome Amy

  11. Tammy March 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Wayne. I am in the process of becoming overwhelmed by His love, as a result of Lifestream.org and the books, The Shack, and the Jake book. I am not the same person that I was a year ago. Can’t seem to ‘stomach’ going to church any more. Just have such a distaste for religion now, after having practically grown up in “church”.

    I’m still amazed at how many people get freed from religion, yet seemingly still miss the point of His love. But, His love is finding me, and it can’t help but to transform everything about me.

  12. Tammy March 30, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Wayne. I am in the process of becoming overwhelmed by His love, as a result of Lifestream.org and the books, The Shack, and the Jake book. I am not the same person that I was a year ago. Can’t seem to ‘stomach’ going to church any more. Just have such a distaste for religion now, after having practically grown up in “church”.

    I’m still amazed at how many people get freed from religion, yet seemingly still miss the point of His love. But, His love is finding me, and it can’t help but to transform everything about me.

  13. Rob West April 2, 2009 at 2:19 am

    At the moment I’m full of all sorts of emotions, reading your Blog and the responses to it, leaves me in wonder and awe of ‘His’ love for me and his children.

    I love the fresh freedom I’m experiencing being revealed through your books and really want to learn to express this through intimate regard towards everyone I encounter.

    I have been reflecting on my insecurities and ask Father to reveal how these impact on others, in particular my family (Wife & 3 children) I know I cant change these things myself but really don’t want to cause more damage than I already have in these important relationships. I have tried to be a good and loving man, but at times pride and past history gets in the way.
    Often my defensive response to feelings of ‘being misunderstood’ lead me to isolate myself. I really desire to find an alternative response both emotionally and in action. I then react usually by withdrawing from a situation rather than addressing it face on, for fear of getting angry, oppressing people or ‘acting out’.
    What ever method I choose appears to leave me feeling unfulfilled, misunderstood and devalued.
    This then further compounds my insecurities and feelings of self doubt at times of conflict or stress.

    What I’m asking for is prayer,encouragement and freedom. My journey has begun but my emotional baggage is causing me to feel weary as I am carrying burdens that are not all mine.
    Its great to hear your testimonies and stories and I believe this will sustain me and remind me that I am not alone on this amazing journey.
    Thanksx

  14. Rob West April 2, 2009 at 5:19 am

    At the moment I’m full of all sorts of emotions, reading your Blog and the responses to it, leaves me in wonder and awe of ‘His’ love for me and his children.

    I love the fresh freedom I’m experiencing being revealed through your books and really want to learn to express this through intimate regard towards everyone I encounter.

    I have been reflecting on my insecurities and ask Father to reveal how these impact on others, in particular my family (Wife & 3 children) I know I cant change these things myself but really don’t want to cause more damage than I already have in these important relationships. I have tried to be a good and loving man, but at times pride and past history gets in the way.
    Often my defensive response to feelings of ‘being misunderstood’ lead me to isolate myself. I really desire to find an alternative response both emotionally and in action. I then react usually by withdrawing from a situation rather than addressing it face on, for fear of getting angry, oppressing people or ‘acting out’.
    What ever method I choose appears to leave me feeling unfulfilled, misunderstood and devalued.
    This then further compounds my insecurities and feelings of self doubt at times of conflict or stress.

    What I’m asking for is prayer,encouragement and freedom. My journey has begun but my emotional baggage is causing me to feel weary as I am carrying burdens that are not all mine.
    Its great to hear your testimonies and stories and I believe this will sustain me and remind me that I am not alone on this amazing journey.
    Thanksx

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