What is the Gospel, and what does that have to do with me?
I think that is a fair question. I also think that while we need to answer that question we also need to understand that the Gospel is an answer to another question. There was and is a very big question being asked and the answer to that question is the Gospel. So before I answer the question of what is the Gospel (sneak peak it means Good …) I want to as clearly as I can tell you what question the Gospel answers.
Fair warning this is just my story. I am going to do my best to not generalize. I believe that if I tried to use stories or other analogies some would object and say I should have said this or that. In order to avoid all that I will just tell my story because well honestly it is my story and I can tell it however I like and you don’t have to listen. So here goes……
As I laid in a bed at a crisis center I started to think “how did I get here?” I know I just tried to kill myself but how did I end up here in this mental state? How did I go from one stage of pain to a whole new level I did not know existed? More importantly, where do I go now?
My life growing up was not a picture of Leave it to Beaver, Donna Reid, or anything else wholesome. It was not as tragic as some but more so than others. There was drug abuse, feelings of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, and a dozen other negatives. Some I created but others were given to me. I carried things in life like a backpack. Somethings I put in and other things other people put in there for me. I won’t say which is which because I have forgiven and it does no good to point fingers now. Let’s just say I felt I was dealt a bad hand and I only made it worse.
The suicide attempt was just the result of the final straw. Enough things had been laid one atop another and I could no longer carry that backpack. The weight had become too much and I not only could no longer carry it I no longer wanted to. I had not been raised in a Christian or even Chreaster (Christmas & Easter Christian) home so I as far as I was concerned there was this life then nothing and I was ready for the nothing. I was done with hurting just to keep hurting. I was done trying to cope with the pain with drugs and cutting and could not take another step.
Next thing I knew I was in and out of it at the ER. Then I was being checked into a crisis house for monitoring. It sucked. All I wanted to do was die and I failed at that too. I was not just a failure I was a failure at failing. I could do nothing right. I was destined to wander the earth as a failure. But God was up to something.
There was a guy in there who checked himself in every year at the same time because that was the anniversary of when he killed his wife and daughter in a drunk driving accident. He knew he was not strong enough to be on his own during that time. He told me this wild story about how God gave him the strength to get through it and something or other about Jesus. I don’t remember much other than that because I was still pretty out of it. I remember him looking like Luther from the Warriors so my memory of that time is not great. I just remember little bits here and there.
Fast forward a few months (more or less I have no idea still very fuzzy) I was staying with some friends for a little bit and I started talking to my friend (now my wife) and I was asking her all sorts of questions about the Bible and Jesus. Some of the questions were really stupid and had nothing to do with anything really I just had questions. I was still smoking pot and drinking a lot but wanted to know if there was something more. I wanted to know if there was something else. I believed in god (little g on purpose) but no idea if he cared or was involved. She kept telling me I just had to have faith. I had no idea what that meant. I mean really faith in what? Faith in Jesus. Why? Because you have to (is the gist of what she would say).
I didn’t really balk at it too much because I was already a failure so what else was left. I mean if I have faith in Jesus and nothing happens what have I lost? I didn’t even know what year it was so really what would the downside be? I was doing this dishes while all this was going on in my head. Then I saw something I will never forget. I saw me. I saw my reflection in a window and saw something beyond fixing. Drug using, self-injuring, self-loathing, hater of all, just a failure. It hit me that I was so beyond help. I said, “Jesus if you are real and want my life you can have it. I have messed it up and ruined it so if you want my life and you can do something with it you can have it I am done with it.”
BOOM! No more drugs, no more cutting, no more suicidal thoughts. All gone right away. It took awhile for my head to get out of the fog but the worst of it was gone. Everything changed in an instant. I told her when I saw her that night that I gave my life to Jesus. She was surprised.
So there it is. That is my story in a nutshell. I tell you so that I can tell you what question the Gospel answers. The question is: Is God real, and if so does He even care?
That is the question. The question that trumps all other questions. Bigger than where will I live or who will I marry. Is God real, and if so does He even care is the question.
The answer is the Gospel. Gospel means good news. The good news is yes God loves you and cares very much. So much He took your place in death and paid your debt so you did not have to. To look at the backpack analogy again He took the backpack off. The Good News is that God loves you so much. God loves you with a relentless and undying love. God loves you so much He sent His Son who is still God Himself to die for your sin. The Good News is that Loves Wins!
The Good News is also not just a one and done thing. Some people think the Gospel only applies to “getting saved,” but that is only the very beginning. There is so much that comes with “getting saved” that is still part of the Gospel message.
That is why I do what I do. That is why I love to work with the youth. Because if they can get this now then maybe they can avoid a path similar to mine. That is why I run this site so that maybe you can find hope. That is why I have preached in prison so that those in chains can know there is a future. That is why I build relationships with people. That is why I read and study and pray so that I can grow closer to my God and my love. It is all for the sake of the Gospel.
So there it is you could have jumped down 20 something paragraphs to get here and you might have but you would have missed the question.
Just a thought,