Student Story: Redeeming Love

By Ethan Lewallen

One of the biggest lies ever told is that you are not good enough.

The enemy will use lies to beat you down, tear things down around you, and push you to the breaking point. The truth of the matter is that Jesus will leave the 99 to save the one who is lost, and there is nothing He cannot redeem.

I used to believe the lies that Satan whispered in my ears constantly. The weight of those lies felt like chains wrapped around me. Even after accepting Jesus, those chains still weighed me down, and I was left wondering where God was and if He cared about my hurt and the pain that I felt. What I didn’t know was that the renovation of my life was only beginning.

As God removed things from my life, I became caught up in the selfish, worldly view of “Why me?” I should have been asking, “Why not me?”

In the blink of an eye, everything I had previously hoped for and dreamed of was gone.

God removed certain people from my life, and the career of my dreams that I had been working towards was gone too. I couldn’t understand why, and through this I felt further from God than I had ever felt before. I turned to worldly things to fill the void that I felt inside.

The lies that I was alone, unloved, and abandoned made me ask what the point of life was. Was I just supposed to be full of pain and hurt? I was at my breaking point. I wanted nothing more than to feel God’s presence and to feel loved by the Creator of the universe. But I thought that my sins made me too far gone for Him to save – until I read Luke 9:24:

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

Scripture showed me the truth of Jesus and that following Him costs us our earthly lives and desire. It wasn’t until I started looking at Jesus instead of focusing on the things that I thought were missing from my life that I realized the bigger picture of what God was doing. My wants and desires changed that instant, and I knew I wanted to live for Christ.

Coming to OKWU was never a plan of mine, but it was a part of God’s plan for my life. I knew instantly when I heard about this school that it was where God wanted me to be. After declaring my major, pastoral ministry, and getting into the swing of college life, I knew something was missing. Something was missing from my walk with Christ, something that God needed me to do before I could continue on my path.

Ethan Lewallen baptism

Ethan Lewallen stands in front of the student body after his baptism with Rev. Torrey Martin.

Baptism was the missing piece that I needed to go forth in my walk with Christ. After God prompted me to be baptized, I had the opportunity to be baptized in front of everyone on campus. Stepping into that water with Rev. Torrey Martin was nerve-racking, but it was also one of the most joyful moments of my life.

After coming up from death to my old self, I knew that I would not have been there in that moment if Jesus had not come into my life and made me new.

OKWU has been my home, and I have fallen in love with the community I have built. Here I am able to live in God’s truth instead of the enemy’s lies. Jesus turned me, a sinner, into a follower of Christ and made me new again through his redeeming love.

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