The Furious Longing of God

All I have learned through trial and error is to stay alert and aware, especially God smiling @ our silliness.

Because we approach the gospel with preconceived notions of what it should say rather than what it does say, the Word no longer falls like rain on the parched ground of our souls. It no longer sweeps like a wild storm into the corners of our comfortable piety. It no longer vibrates like sharp lightning in the dark recesses of our nonhistoric orthodoxy. The gospel becomes, in the words of Gertrude Stein, … a pattering of pious platitudes spoken by a Jewish carpenter in the distant past.

Christians find it easier to believe that God exists than that God loves them.

Elsewhere I’ve written that Jesus came not only for those who skip morning meditations, but also for real sinners, thieves, adulterers, and terrorists, for those caught up in squalid choices and failed dreams. I HAVE COME TO CALL NOT THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS. (MATT. 9:13)

For His love is never, never, never based on our performance, never conditioned by our moods—of elation or depression. The furious love of God knows no shadow of alteration or change. It is reliable. And always tender. So

From that moment on, no Christian can ever say one form of prayer is as good as another or one religion is as good as another.

How is it then that we’ve come to imagine that Christianity consists primarily in what we do for God? How has this come to be the good news of Jesus?

I believe that Christianity happens when men and women experience the reckless, raging confidence that comes from knowing the God of Jesus Christ.

If you took the love of all the best mothers and fathers who have lived in the course of human history, all their goodness, kindness, patience, fidelity, wisdom, tenderness, strength, and love and united all those qualities in a single person, that person’s love would only be a faint shadow of the furious love and mercy in the heart of God the Father addressed to you and me at this moment.

I hear with growing clarity, it’s that God is calling each and every Christian to personally participate in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

It is then I face a momentous decision. Shivering in the rags of my seventy-four years, I have two choices. I can escape below into skepticism and intellectualism, hanging on for dear life. Or, with radical amazement, I can stay on deck and boldly stand in surrendered faith to the truth of my belovedness, caught up in the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God. And learn to pray.

I've decided that if I had my life to live over again, I would not only climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets; I wouldn't only jettison my hot water bottle, raincoat, umbrella, parachute, and raft; I would not only go barefoot earlier in the spring and stay out later in the fall; but I would devote not one more minute to monitoring my spiritual growth. No, not one.

Jesus came not only for those who skip morning meditations, but also for real sinners, thieves, adulterers, and terrorists, for those caught up in squalid choices and failed dreams. I HAVE COME TO CALL NOT THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS. (MATT. 9:13)

Jesus expected the most of every man and woman; and behind their grumpiest poses, their most puzzling defense mechanisms, their coarseness, their arrogance, their dignified airs, their silence, and their sneers and curses, Jesus sees a little child who wasn’t loved enough—a least of these who had ceased growing because someone had ceased believing in them.

* Recognize that God is with you.
* Acknowledge God knows what He's doing.
* Search for God's will: the path He desires you to take in life.
* Consider what God did for you when He sent Jesus to die on the cross (forgiveness and righteousness)

Stop comparing or boast at your victories. He was referring to enormous vitality and strength of God of Jesus seeking union with us. The living acts of a Christian become somehow the acts of Christ.

THAT YOU, BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE, MAY BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND WITH ALL THE SAINTS WHAT IS THE BREADTH AND LENGTH AND HEIGHT AND DEPTH, AND TO KNOW THE LOVE OF CHRIST WHICH SURPASSES KNOWLEDGE, THAT YOU MAY BE FILLED UP TO ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD. Do you hear what Paul is saying? The love of Christ is beyond knowledge. We’ve got to let go of our impoverished, circumcised, traditionalist, legalistic, human perceptions of God and open ourselves to the God in Jesus Christ. If we will, the promise is that we will be filled up with the fullness of God.

The daring metaphor of Jesus as bridegroom suggests that the living God seeks more than an intimate relationship with us.

The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is His greatest single act of unwavering trust in His Abba’s love. He plunged into the darkness of death, not fully knowing what awaited Him, confident that somehow, some way, His Abba would vindicate Him.

The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian.

The kingdom of God is not a subdivision for the self-righteous or for those who lay claim to private visions of doubtful authenticity and boast they possess the state secret of their salvation. No, as Eugene Kennedy notes, “it is for a larger, homelier, and less self-conscious people who know they are sinners because they have experienced the yaw and pitch of moral struggle.” The men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their own imperfect existence.

The love of Christ embraces all without exception.

Fire of love, crazy over what You have made. Oh, divine Madman. (Prayer of Catherine Siena)

Simply do the next thing in love.

I have no sense of myself apart from you.

Quia amasti me, fecisti me amabilem. (In loving me, you made me lovable.)

The men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their own imperfect existence.

There is the "you" that people see and then there is the "rest of you". Take some time and craft a picture of the "rest of you." This could be a drawing, in words, even a song. Just remember that the chances are good it will be full of paradox and contradictions.

The wild, unrestricted love of God is not simply an inspiring idea. When it imposes itself on mind and heart with the stark reality of ontological truth, it determines why and at what time you get up in the morning, how you pass your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, and who you hang with; it affects what breaks your heart, what amazes you, and what makes your heart happy.

To affirm a person is to see the good in them that they cannot see in themselves and to repeat it in spite of appearances to the contrary. Please, this is not some Pollyanna optimism that is blind to the reality of evil, but rather like a fine radar system that is tuned in to the true, the good, and the beautiful.

When a person is evoked for who she is, not who she is not, the most often result will be the inner healing of her heart through the touch of affirmation.

Jesus said you are to love one another as I have loved you, a love that will possibly lead to the bloody, anguish gift of yourself, a love that forgives seven times seven, that keeps no record of wrong. This is the criterion, sole norm, the standard of discipleship in the New Israel of God.

When one of England’s finest writers, G. K. Chesterton, spoke of “the furious love of God,” he was referencing the enormous vitality and strength of the God of Jesus seeking union with us.

When preached purely, His Word exalts, frightens, shocks, and forces us to reassess our whole life. The gospel breaks our train of thought, shatters our comfortable piety, and cracks open our capsule truths. The flashing spirit of Jesus Christ breaks new paths everywhere. His sentences stand like quivering swords of flame because He did not come to bring peace, but a revolution. The gospel is not a children’s fairy tale, but rather a cutting-edge, rolling-thunder, convulsive earthquake in the world of the human spirit.

You are blessed! God’s desire is for you. And Jesus is the incarnation of God’s furious longing. He is your supreme Lover. It’s true. You are blessed. Your soul’s winter is over. The snows are over and gone. Flowers are blooming inside of you. The season of joyful songs has come. To you. You are blessed! The love of God is folly. No one is excluded. All (really!) are called to the banquet table. Come, and be filled. You are blessed! Be-YOU-ti-full. Be you. Just be. Love supports you. You are blessed! You have learned the purpose of life: LOVE. You are blessed! You can pray like a child, and enjoy God. You are blessed! Heal, and be healed. Reclaim affirmations for the kingdom of God. Amen. Amen. Amen.