Notes and my personal thoughts from chapter 1 of “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.
Some of the youth and I went through one of Francis Chan’s books, and I encouraged them to write about what they learned. It’s only fair if I do so myself, so here it goes…
So often today we “rush into” God’s presence, with a list of wants that we call needs, talking at Him, instead of with Him. Francis reminds us of Solomon’s warning that the man who rushes into God’s presence with words is a fool, and that the wise man stands in awe of Him. Yet so often we do the former. When we pause, and truly stand silent before Him for who He is all that He has and is doing in our lives, how can we not stand in awe? The kicker is if we even come to Him in that silence, or if we are preoccupied with the things that are on our minds. Too often we are slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry and frustrated with the circumstances of our situations. Yet we are not called to be a people of circumstance.
If we forget the reality of who God is, it’s easy to fall out of this state of awe that we desire. Reflecting on the basics of His characteristics can help us to remember who He is:
1. He is Holy: to describe Him in entirety is impossible with our own words, but what we have to remember is that we don’t decide who God is. He is who He says He is.
2. He is Eternal: everything has a beginning and an end, except for God. There’s no way we’ll fully understand this, and while frustrating, Francis reminds us that it is ridiculous to think that we should be able to simplify God into an explanation that fits comfortably in our mind, in a way that we can comprehend it. He’s much bigger than any of that.
3. He is All Knowing: there’s no fooling God. He knows our hearts, desires, and true motivations in our actions. While we can deceive those around us, and put on a mask for what we want others to see in us, He sees the real deal. The crazier thing is that despite that, He doesn’t turn His back on us.
4. He is All Powerful: “Don’t we live instead as though God is created for us, to do our bidding, to bless us, and to take care of our loved ones?” By Him all things are made, and for Him all things exist. For us to question why He chose for something to be some way is to demand that He is accountable to us, on the other hand, he has all the more right to question us as to why there are so many people starving, for example.
5. He is Fair and Just: simply put, He is the only one who is truly all good, and our standards are set by Him for this reason. If we were to come up with our own standards, they would differ from one to another. In fact, His hate for sin results in His punishment for sin. Sound harsh? Francis puts it bluntly, when you have you own universe, you can set your own standards. Lucky for us, he sent His son to die for us, who was tortured, mocked, and beaten for our sin.
These are things that we’ve all learned in Sunday School growing up, but often forget in the busyness of our lives, the hustle and stress of organizing “special events” and programs, or thinking of ways we can make what we believe seem more appealing to others. But how can we do this if our hearts are not first in a right place with Him, and if we don’t have the right perspective of who He is? It isn’t until we remind ourselves regularly of our of how little we are and how small our problems and worries are, when placed in contrast with a mighty God. How can we not stand in awe?