Honors student documents spiritual journey in book
Story and photo by Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
For Honors College student Christopher Robinson, the desire to have a relationship with God wasn’t always something that was on his mind. In fact, there was a time where he referred to himself as an atheist, but his perspective changed after he was introduced to the church and went on a mission trip to Mexico.
The Grand Canyon University senior, scheduled to graduate in December with his bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies with an Emphasis in Youth Ministry, recounted his path in his self-published book, “Undeserved Merit: A Journey of Learning to Accept God’s Grace.”
Available on Amazon and Kindle, the 164-page book shares stories from a childhood molded by challenges and heartache, leading to teenage years engulfed with addictions. But throughout the book, he also reflects on the lessons he learned and the gratitude he felt when he accepted God’s love.
“I didn’t want there to be a God,” Robinson reflects. “For someone like me, who grew up with a dad that I had to take care of to one that didn’t really care, by the time Frank came along as my (current) stepfather, I didn’t really want a dad. I have been screwed over by two, so to have another father (God) tell me, ‘Hey, this is who I am,’ I wanted to blow it off. That’s why I didn’t want there to be a God.”
That would change when he and 15 church members and leaders traveled to Tijuana to build homes for the homeless. They weren’t quite the houses Robinson was used to seeing.
“The door was just a plank of wood with a hole in it, and that was your handle. Then you realize, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a family of 10 that are going to be living in this 15 x 15 shed. What?’” he said.
“It’s not like there’s A.C. (air conditioning) in there. I mean, it’s in the heart of Tijuana. You’re basically sitting in a sweat box, but they were so thankful. They were so pleased to have a roof over their heads. It was a wonderful experience, and I think seeing that and then just being around these people who have just poured into me for a year and a half, it eventually just broke me.”
In addition to building homes, there was another mission experience that helped open his heart to Jesus: His group re-enacted John 13, when Jesus washes his disciples’ feet.
“He (his youth pastor) comes over to me and washes my feet and I’m just in tears, I’m like a blubbering baby,” Robinson recalled. “I went over and I washed a couple of other people’s feet, but afterward I just went on a walk like I couldn’t handle it. It got to a point where God was so real, where I could not deny it, I could not continue to do what I was doing prior. It just wasn’t possible.”
When it came to writing the book, which became available for purchase in November, Robinson said he agreed to share his story with some “prodding” from the Holy Spirit.
Since it was published, Robinson says the book has received praise from his friends and mentors back home in Washington state as well as from students on campus. Some even reached out in tears, they were so moved by his spiritual journey and praise for the Lord.
“I wanted to put something out that was going to bring glory to God and was going to help people and have them learn from my very dumb mistakes and stories, and so far it’s done that,” he said.
Robinson credits the completion of book to not only God but his friends, family and mentor Michael Lodge.
Robinson plans to leave his future endeavors in God’s hands but says he would love to be a youth pastor. He is also in the process of writing a second book.
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]