03 Aug God Wants What He Paid For
Gabi Wiegand, a servant leader on our First Impressions team at King’s Church, shares her powerful testimony as a part of our Summer Voices series.
It was the summer of 2008 and I had just graduated high school. At 18 years old, I was sure I knew everything there was to know about anything. Spoiler alert – I did not. If you would’ve asked my parents about me during this time, they probably would’ve let out an exasperated sigh, rolled their eyes and told you I was rebellious and downright awful. Now, I’m not talking rebellious as in “sex, drugs and rock and roll,” I’m talking MAJOR character flaws. I was a liar. I was disrespectful. I was manipulative and challenged authority at every turn. I don’t remember exactly what happened on this fateful day, but I do remember making my mother cry and my father storming into my bedroom with a box of trash bags.
In complete silence, my dad emptied every one of my dresser drawers into trash bags. He then proceeded to take them downstairs and tossed them out the front door. As I threw a raging tantrum, he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I don’t care who you call, I don’t care where you go. You are poisonous to this family. GET OUT!” And just like that, I was homeless. My parents took my cell phone, keys and laptop, so I had no way to contact anyone and no clue where to go.
I sat outside for nearly three hours before anyone acknowledged I hadn’t left the front yard. My little brother came out, laid into me and let me have it with both barrels. He screamed at me, “YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MY BEST FRIEND. YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MY ROLE MODEL. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? YOU ARE DESTROYING THE FAMILY!” In that moment, I was totally shattered. I had let my parents down a million times and was not phased. Suddenly, with the realization I had hurt my baby brother, everything came into focus and I saw myself at rock bottom for the first time. When he went back inside, I collapsed into a heap in the gravel driveway.
Through tears, I reached into the nearest trash bag, hoping to find a sock or something to wipe the snot and dirt off my face. Instead, my hand hit the Message Bible my mother had gifted me a month prior, which I had yet to take out of the box. In an act of total surrender and complete desperation, I cried out to God for the first time in over a year. “God, if you’re real and you care about me at all, I need you to prove it right now!” In the same breath, I opened the Bible and read the first passage I laid my eyes on:
“You’ve always been right there for me; don’t turn your back on me now.
Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me; you’ve always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in.”
– Psalm 27:9-10
Those words were exactly what I needed to hear. I was smack dab in the middle of a storm. My mom and dad indeed left me, but my God was waiting there to take me in. With a bit more confidence this time, I flipped the Bible open again. My hope was to come across another relevant passage, one that would not only be truthful, but speak directly to my situation.
Note to self: be careful what you wish for.
“Here are six things God hates, and one He loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches
evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in
– Proverbs 6:16-19
Well… that sure spoke “directly to my situation.”
I felt defeated, like the air had been sucked out of me. How could God love me and take me in if He hated everything I’d become? That’s when it hit me. He met me right where I was; in the front yard, covered in snot and dirt. The first thing He told me was, “Hey, I see you. I love you. I will not abandon you.” His abundant grace was something my broken spirt needed, but it also needed hard truth. Yes, God loves me, but He HATED who I had become. He wanted what He had paid for.
When Christ died on the cross, He did it for you and for me. He did it so we might experience the transforming power of His love. That’s a beautiful picture and it’s one I hold close… but you should know, when you recognize that sacrifice and claim the name of Jesus, you get marked by God. There is a seal placed over your life. God has claimed you as His.
So yes, He sees you. He loves you. He has unending grace for you. But He wants what he paid for and what He paid for is you.