Leading up to this chapter, i knew that this would be an important one, i mean, if it’s the chapter the books named after i’d hope it’d have some great content, and that it does!
From all of the chapters i’ve read thus far, this is the one that i relate to the most. I’ve always struggled to understand why God would love someone like me, why Jesus would die for someone like me. My head understands it, but my heart struggles to accept it sometimes. So hearing about an author that i respect talk about this does mean a lot to me.
I love how the first paragraph uses a song that, a lot of us may have sung at a young age, see i wasn’t a church goer till the age of 14, however our primary school used to hymns and such in the morning (this was before the law was changed in the UK that pretty much bans singing hymns and “christian” prayers in schools) so i’d always known this song, but i’d never thought about it talked in this way. I really like how Francis goes on to critique the concept of knowing God’s love because as the song puts it “the bible tells us so” not to say that’s not important because of course it is, but the parallels between knowing this in your head and in your heart are two different things, as much as we may confuse these at times!
When Francis goes on to talk about his relationship with his father, it really strikes a chord with me. It’s not the exact same situation, however, I don’t have a very good relationship with my biological father. My mum and my dad got divorced when i was about 4 or so, and my mum has always been supportive of me, she may not know the lord but she does what she can to support me in my journey, and my step dad, despite not agreeing with the church, does still try to support me in his own way, so it’s not like i haven’t had the support from anyone. But when it comes down to my father’s side, that’s a different story. But this is a topic for a different day, the point i’m trying to make is, it’s part of the book that made me look in the mirror and realize why i struggle with the idea of the father loving me. And this is why this book my be one of my favorites.
Despite not being a father myself, Francis’ analogy of using his relationship with his own children to sum up the love that God has for us, is a really relate able one. And as he rightly says, The Lord loves us more than we could ever explain or love anyone else. And that should give you an idea of how loved we really are!
Francis then goes on to talk about another important topic, that really isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. The difference between studying the word and having time for prayer because it’s the right thing to do as opposed to doing these things out of a love and a want to have a deeper relationship with God. This is not to say that study and prayer time are not important, it’d be a bit hypocritical of me to say that these things don’t matter while spending several hours studying in order to post these blogs, however it’s the reason behind why you want to learn more about God or spend time with him. Is it because it’s what you’re told you’re supposed to do? Or is it because you want to know the Father deeper, and want to understand his heart and word better? Not a judgement, but a question!
Moving on to the sub header, “wanted” and here’s where views were shot down and rebuilt. See, i’ve always been of the belief that God doesn’t want to spent time with me, its i that wants him. However this view is refuted in this brilliant book. Of course God want’s us to spend time with him, he’s not a father that pushes away his children, or keeps a roof over their heads yet keeps them at arm’s length. He is a Father that loves us and wants to spend every waking minute with us, and we should really want the same! Further on it goes on to bring up Jeremiah 1: 4-5 “The word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before i formed you in the womb, i knew you, before you were born i set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet of the nations.” That’s someone for all of us to bear in mind, we are all known before we are created. And we are all loved!
There’s so much more in the sub header to talk about, but i want to focus on this quote “My existence was not random, nor was it an accident. God knew who He was creating, and He designed me for a specific work.” Amen to this, it’s something that many of us seem to forget, you are not a mistake, you are not born to chance or as a random event, but because the creator put you on this earth for a reason, and he will use you if you’re willing to follow him!
There’s two more points i want to focus on in this chapter, the first can be found in the penultimate sub heading of this chapter “A Strange Inheritance” and it’s this Quote “The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.” How true is this? How often do we as people of God, push him to the back of our minds when situations get hard, when times are tough? Yet he still peruses us, and wants our hearts, even when at times we ignore that he is even there.
The second is in the final sub chapter, titled “do i have a choice?” And it addresses an argument that we hear all too much “Why would a loving God force me to love him” and the simple reply is, “he doesn’t, he gives us the option to, but all others are objectively worse.” However it’s much more than that, as the author shows is in the following pages. And i don’t think i can sum it up better than in this quote ” If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be himself)? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If he didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed?” How can i add to this? quite simply i can’t this heads the nail on the head, and shows a true understanding in the way of the Lord.
Please, if you haven’t picked up this book yet, give it a read, we’re three chapters in and it’s one of the most rewarding and challenging reads i’ve had in a while. Join me next week for chapter 4 entitled (and this may be my favorite title thus far) “profile of the Lukewarm” But until then, as always
Keep reading and May God Bless you.