--> Challenge Australian Edition 346, May 2012: Somebody truly loves me

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Somebody truly loves me
By Holly Sonneland
Eric and Megan Chaffer
Courtesy Will Fosher - Mars Hills, RainIer Valley)

When Eric Chaffer was growing up, his views of God and his own dad were pretty much the same: he knew both existed, but never saw either one of them.

“I didn’t have my dad in my life,” says Eric, 27. “I never really had any strong beliefs about God. I knew that He was there, but I never really seen what He did in my life.”

It wasn’t that he didn’t have any exposure to religion. Over the years, his mum took the family through a series of churches from various beliefs — none of which gave Eric any clearer picture of who God was.

“I was confused as a child,” says Eric. “I felt like nobody loved me and because I didn’t know God and I didn’t know who He really was, I felt like He didn’t love me. It had a huge effect on my life.”

“Now, I understand and know and believe in my heart that God has saved and redeemed me and although I may do wrong things from time to time I still remain a child of God.”

Years later, as a young adult, someone invited him to a church retreat, which he accepted—and everything changed.

“God, in a supernatural way, literally opened my eyes. I accepted Christ [as my Saviour], and it’s so crazy that I knew from that point that He was real. … I understood when Scripture said about Paul that, ’scales fell from his eyes,’” in reference to his conversion in Acts 9. “The truth had been revealed to me, and ever since then, I’ve never been the same.”

After believing in Jesus Christ, that He took the punishment for Eric’s sins on a cross, enabling him to become a forgiven child and friend of God, things changed quickly for Eric and his girlfriend Megan, who was then pregnant with their first child. After months of resisting her pressure to walk down the aisle, “I made the decision, a day after I gave my life [to Christ], ‘Let’s get married,’” he says. “And a week later, we got married.”

Today, Eric and Megan have been married for nine years and have four daughters, Keturah, Quia, Karis, and Keonna, and one son, Christian. The oldest is 8-years-old, and the youngest just celebrated her first birthday. Eric works as a delivery driver for a courier service, and Megan home-schools the kids.

At the foundation of their parenting, says Eric, is the gospel — not that every aspect of the gospel made sense right away. “[Beforehand] it was more of condemning myself, ‘Man, I suck! I can’t get this right and I’m gonna go to Hell for this! I can’t keep falling back or falling off!’” he says. “It was stressful!”

Since moving to a new church in 2011, though, his understanding of the gospel, in particular his adoption into Christ has deepened.

“Understanding the gospel now, it’s a relief,” he says. “Now, I understand and know and believe in my heart now that God has saved me and purchased my forgiveness for sin and freedom from sin and I can never stop being His son, just like my son will never stop being my son, I can never stop being God’s son.”

And while it’s a grace freely given, he recognises the cost of discipleship and the miles left to go.

“I want to grow more. I don’t want to be hitting a plateau with God to where I just stay in the same spot,” says Eric. “There’s so much to learn, I just want to continue to grow, and be able to raise my family and be the godly father and husband that I’ve been created [to be], and that takes work to get to because I’m far from that right now.”

“God to me, can be described as being my helper, my provider,” he says. “He’s been literally the centre of my life.”

Courtesy of Mars Hill Church, Rainier Valley, Seattle, blog.marshill.com/2011/12/12/erics-story-gods-work-our-witness

Challenge Good News Paper - 346 May 2012

Links to other versions of this article :-
Alguien me ama (USA Mayo 2012)
Somebody loves me (USA May 2012)

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