So I'm really behind on my book review updates. I'm on chapter 5 with the guys and this is only chapter 3's review. This is the book titled chapter. It's a great chapter about God's love, and how crazy it is that He gives it to us. We don't earn it, desire it, and most of the time realize it's impact on our lives. The song "Jesus Loves Me" in basic terms tells us that we are loved by Jesus because "the Bible tells (us) so," but do we just believe that to be true or do we realize that as truth. Do we implicitly know that Jesus loves us? Or is it just a "concept we are taught" as Francis says? Do we know God's love?
Francis talked a little about his father and the abusive nature of their relationship. He explained that for a long time, "the fear of the Lord" was actual fear for him. He says he could relate to verses in the Bible about fearing God or God's wrath, because his own father created these feeling in Francis toward him. It was not until later in his life that Francis realized the love for God caused him to run towards God and desire to know God more. This deepened his understanding of God's love as well as His wrath. Instead of studying our of guilt, the desire to study comes out of love.
He goes on to talked about God knowing us, directing and/or allowing the situations in our lives to arise in accordance with His plan for our lives. God knew us before we knew ourselves. Before we were, God knew us. In life (specifically in Francis' upbringing) doing something offensive often results in punishment not love. But God loves us despite our sins against Him and His law. "...if God's mercy didn't exist, there would be no hope. No matter how good we tried to be, we would be punished because of our sins." Also, Francis says, "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."
One of the last things that jumped out to me was this: A student at a college were Francis was speaking asked him this question, "Why would a loving God force me to love Him?" First, I recognize the arrogance in this student's question, but I think Francis sees the opportunity for love. He says it was tough to answer in the moment but having time to think about an answer he wishes he would have said, "If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn't draw us towards what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)?" "The greatest good on earth is God."
That is so powerful. God's love is so great that He draws us to Himself so we can be saved from our otherwise wretched existence. We draws us to the only good on earth; not just the best or greatest good, but the only good. Himself. God is great. And He reigns forever. And His crazy love for us should be worshiped forever and ever.