Friday, July 3, 2015

Book Review: The Furious Longing of God

Every once in a while, a theme gets hammered into my psyche by repeated, seemingly coincidental exposure. Sunday morning's sermon was centered on the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. Our congregation was reminded of God's intense, unwavering love for us and further, of His desire that we go on to express that same love to others, not just the ones who are easy to love (even the pagans do that), but the most unlovable ones. It was an inspiring time of worship.

Then, I came home and my boys packed up to leave for a brief trip to Holiday World. Following their departure I sat in our quiet house, enjoying the calm and attempting (unsuccessfully) to make my failing laptop work. In frustration, I gave up and decided to simply open up my Kindle library (on my laptop) and read one of the many books I keep meaning to get to. I opened up the most recent acquisition, this book by Brennan Manning, called The Furious Longing of God.

This brief book cemented even further an understanding of the depth of God's love for me, even when I don't feel that I deserve it, even when I am at my most despicable. He loves me, even me! What a marvelous revelation.

As Manning writes: "The revolutionary thinking that God loves me as I am and not as I should be requires radical rethinking and profound emotional readjustment." He asserts that it is easier for people to believe that God exists than it is for them to believe that God loves them. Yet, it is true that "He loves me whether in a state of grace or disgrace."

Later, in talking of the power we have to heal someone else with our affirming love, seeing in them what they cannot see in themselves, he writes, "Lodged in your heart is the power to walk into somebody's life and give him or her what the bright Paul Tillich called 'the courage to be'." What a great commission!

He goes on. After talking about the healing found in the story of Don Quixote and Dulcinea, Manning writes: "The question is not can we heal? The question, the only question, is will we let the healing power of the risen Jesus flow through us to reach and touch others, so that they may dream and fight and bear and run where the brave dare not go?"

What an opportunity lies before each and every one, to rise to the occasion and be the conveyor of a moment of healing in the life of another. I want to not only experience the unfathomable love of God but also extend that love to others in ways that produces great healing in their lives!

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