I’m a little bit in the process of reading about 7 books right now. Although it may sound like it would be unproductive, I’m actually quite enjoying the different viewpoints. I’m not a big fan of the authors who are more focused on the kinds of words they use than what they’re actually trying to get across. Like those authors who take up 5 useless pages of trying to describe one simple thing… it doesn’t make sense to me. Ya know, like when they use a thousand different adjectives and verbs to describe something as simple as a blade of grass. Ugh, blah.
So, anyway… one of the books that I’m reading right now is called “The Sacred Romance”. I’m really a fan of it because of the simplicity of how they paint God out to be. So refreshing.
There’s 2 authors, Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, both of whom are excellent authors. In one particularly great chapter, John Eldredge (also the author of “Wild at Heart”) attempts to capture God’s love in a new way.
It’s totally changed my life! I’ve read the chapter at least 4 times already because I don’t want the idea to slip away from my heart. If you get a minute and you’re out shopping, take a seat at a bookstore and slip away for a few minutes by reading this chapter. It’s chapter 6 called “God the Ageless Romancer”.
I’ll try to sum up a little bit what I got from it. I’m gonna warn ya though that I am a little drugged up on Ny-Quil at the moment because of a cold, and am not quite “with it”. This entry will probably only make sense to me when I read it tomorrow 🙂
This is long, but if you have time, I promise it’s good!!!!
It mostly talks about how God’s heart seems so hard to understand and trust. Often people doubt His heart because they go through painful times in life and assume that God doesn’t care or He has simply just betrayed them. It challenges us, as believers, to not think of God as the author in the story of our life… ya know, the guy who sits up in the heavens somewhere narrating our life and writing the next step and is completely separated from us. “The author lies behind, beyond. His omniscience and omnipotence may be what create the drama, but they are also what separate us from Him”. We are not the “rats in His cosmic labratory” as C.S Lewis puts it. It challenges us to, instead, picture God as the hero in our life story who lives in the drama with us. “The story that is the Sacred Romance begins not with God alone, the author at his desk, but God in relationship, intimacy beyond our wildest imagination, heroic intimacy…..We long for intimacy because we are made in the image of perfect intimacy.” and then it goes on to say “God does not need the Creation in order to have something to love because within himself love happens”. Our relationship with God is “the assurance that there is something grand and good going on that doesn’t rest on your shoulders, something that doesn’t even culminate in you, but rather invites you up into it. And so it is with God’s story. Before any of our complex and sometimes overwhelming smaller stories began, there was something wonderful already going on.” Then, the chapter goes on to talk about how God’s perfect heart was betrayed by satan, a fallen angel, who then goes on to try to convince the rest of creation that God doesn’t have a good heart. “Though it seems almost incomprehensible, he deceived a multitude of the heavenly host by sowing the seed of doubt in their minds that God was somehow holding out on them.” Before the fall of Adam and Eve, God woos us into relationship with Him with the beauty of all creation. God creates mand and woman and sets them in paradise. “We see in the first glimpse of God’s wildness the goodness of His heart– He gives us our freedom. In order for a true romance to occur, we had to be free to reject Him.” And then it goes on to say that, “the reason He didn’t make puppets is because He wanted lovers. Remember, he’s inviting us up into a romance. Freedom is part of the explanation for the problem of evil. God is the author of some storms directly; but He is the author of the possibility of all storms in giving us freedom.” Satan’s plan, however, is this: “is now to ruin the Sacred Romance, to get us all caught up in our own little sociodramas by telling us that we are the point. However, God doesn’t give up. God is pursuing a people whose hearts will be for him, with whom he can share the joy of the larger story.”
This is my favorite part of the chapter. It’s Kierkegaard’s way of examining God’s version of the story. Why He pursues us as He does and why our reaction to His love seems to complicate things….
“Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist — no one dared resist him. But would she love him?
She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a privte grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she was a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.” (“Disappointment With God”)
“Jesus left to prepare our place in heaven; the spirit has come to empower us to continue the invasion of the kingdom, which is primarily about freeing the hearts of others to live in the love of God. There is so much in our own heart that remains to be released. Our enemy has not given up yet and his target is also our heart. When we feel that life is finally up to us it becomes suffocating. When we are the main character, the world is so small there’s barely room to move. It frees our souls to have something going on before us that involves us, had us in mind, yet doesn’t depend on us.”
And my favorite quote of all to describe why we shouldn’t focus on the hurts and suffering in life,
“The suffering seems like the truest part of life, but they are not. The heart of the universe is still perfect love.”
“Finally, if we try to relate to God primarily as Author, we will go mad. I just can’t imagine the characters of a novel affecting the author that much. He may like them, hate them, be intrigued with mapping out their development, but they don’t impact him the way people in his real life do. He doesn’t live with them as flesh and blood lovers. But when we see God as the Hero of the story and consider what he wants for us, we know one thing for certain: We affect him. We impact the members of the Trinity as truly as they do each other. It is only when we see God as the Hero of the larger story that we come to know his heart is good.”