Lately I have been made starkly aware of how rubbish I am at love. There is an ugly side of me that is at times selfish, impatient, and cruel; I will refuse to love, because a) I lack the desire, or b) I lack the will.
When my friend gave me this book, I was initially confused at how it was supposed to help me learn to love better. It’s all about restoring a love relationship between us and God, our Father. I wanted something more direct: teach me what I can DO to love better! Little did I realize that my capacity to love has nothing to do with my personal actions, but everything to do with my experience and acceptance of Love. This book rocked me.
For the past 5 years that I’ve known Jesus, I’ve been repeatedly wrecked by the love of my Savior. But I haven’t been in tune with the love of my Father. I’ve just never known that kind of love existed, that I could be loved by a perfect DAD and approach him guiltlessly as his perfectly loved child. I never knew what it meant, in the first place, to have him as my perfect dad. He’s always just been my God.
Isn’t it crazy how we could love a Savior for his selfless and sacrificial saving love – and not even recognize the love of the Father which this Savior ultimately came to represent?
This book exposed me to the realities of that love. It teaches the naturally-bent legalistic soul (aka, me) what it means to be loved with ferocious grace, and how, SOLELY because of experiencing that love, we are then able to GIVE love with ferocious grace.
I really grew to respect the author. Though he writes from a very charismatic viewpoint, he’s entirely relatable. He spent 15 years as a terrible, tortured, legalistic preacher whose tainted love contributed to the depression and brokenness of his wife and children. He shares open details about their life, which I found was super helpful in building trust and a connection with the reader. He and his family were a mess. But he is able to write with such authority on this topic because it’s precisely the outpouring of the love of his Father that changed his – and subsequently his family’s – entire lives.
Would I Recommend It?
Yes. Yes, absolutely, yes.
Three things will happen if we fail to experience and accept this love:
- We will never be satisfied.
- We will never be able to fully love others.
- Really, though – am I the only one who gets frazzled and frustrated at how poorly I am able love others at times? Sometimes I feel like my capacity to love – genuinely, purely, authentically, selflessly – is dead and devoid. It sucks. But I am learning that I absolutely cannot without God. I have no good apart from him. When I love, it is only through him and by him.
- We will constantly seek that love in all the wrong things… cyclically leading us right back to #1.