Surprised by Agape: An Excerpt

An almost perfect relationship with his father was the earthly root of all his wisdom. From his own father, he said, he first learned that Fatherhood must be at the core of the universe. 
— George MacDonald, An Anthology, by C.S.Lewis
To please God… to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness… to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son- it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.
— The Weight of Glory, by C.S.Lewis

Some people find the idea of a good and benevolent Creator that cares about humanity to be absolutely absurd and wishful thinking. Some people want to believe in a benevolent, good Creator, but can’t because they believe there is not enough evidence, or because they have been so deeply wounded by painful experiences. I respect and love people who have these views, and people of all worldviews, for that matter. I found faith to be a virtue, and embracing it was the most important thing that ever happened to me.

Music, literature, art, authentic followers of Jesus, philosophical questions, experiences of pain, beauty, joy, and an Irish and Scottish writer all had a role to play in my embracing faith. The Scottish writer was the preacher, mystic, poet, and bard George MacDonald. MacDonald had a very good relationship with his earthly father, which is why he had such a powerful view of the Fatherhood of God.

I began reading George MacDonald soon after my conversion through the influence of C.S.Lewis, who I discovered through the rock band from San Diego, California named Switchfoot. In MacDonald's sermons, fairy tales, novels, and fantasy works, I found myself having a deeper understanding of the fatherhood of God. For me, this was very important, because I never had a solid father figure. I won’t go into all the details, but I will say that because of this wound, I experienced profound worldview and identity issues. I can remember, painfully, going for walks, and seeing some father with his son or daughter, just having fun, bonding together, and growing in love. Those moments were very difficult. What was even more difficult were the crises I then went through. I didn’t think that I was going to make it, and I felt like the loving and good God I claimed to believe and know either didn’t exist, or if He did, He was a capricious tyrant, and no loving Father. The pain of holding my head in my hands, the restless nights, insomnia, feeling like a waste, the haunting conviction that my faith was just a human fabrication, and that I was doomed to a tragic end that I could do nothing about--it all hurt like hell.

Coming out of that, my faith was strengthened, and I experienced the fatherhood of God in a way that I could not have in any other way. All of those painful experiences have allowed me to be able to help others who have struggled with depression, suicide, anxiety, and worldview and identity conflict. It has also made me a better writer, given me a greater understanding, by experience, of The Creator’s love for me and for all humanity, and it has led me to where I am in my life now. I have never been more glad to be alive! I love living in the mountains of North Carolina. I have an amazing community of people in my life. I am pursuing my passion for literature and art at a liberal arts college in Montreat, North Carolina. I am working on my book Surprised by Agape, I find great joy in the present, and I look forward to what is to come. The fatherhood of the Creator has been greater than my doubt, pain, and sin, has brought me to where I am at in my life now, and will sustain me until the end, to the true beginning, when I am welcomed home in Abba’s embrace as his beloved prodigal son, Justin Wiggins.