A Reckless, Raging Fury

I really love my kids.  I enjoy their company, take my protecting and nurturing of them very seriously, get riled up when someone threatens them, and quite literally would run through a wall and lay down my life to save theirs.  This doesn't make me anything special, as it is how most all parents are.  To be sure, sometimes it requires a conscious choice, and you make that choice.  But sometimes it comes forth from something deep and primal, requiring no thought or explanation.

Did you know that the Creator of the Universe is this way with you?  When most of us - and, sadly, I'm including Christians in this as well - think of God, we somehow make Him smaller than we are.  We are capable of silly affection, sober commitment, menacing protectiveness, and furious love when it comes to our children, even though our children are often far from deserving and we are often far from pure.  And yet we do not believe that God is as capable of such things; the force of His emotions is deemed less than our own.

Why is that?  Have we experienced God let us down?  Do we find it impossible to reconcile what we want God to be like with how cruel the world often is (and, even more painfully, how cruel God's people often are)?  Are we so lost, so dead, so darkened that we don't think God could ever love us?  And, from any and all of that, have we become too jaded, hardened, cynical, and distant to imagine God being toward us the way we are toward our children?

One of my favorite Christian musicians is Rich Mullins.  And while "The Love of God" isn't one of my favorites of his, it does contain a phrase that I have found myself stuck on the past few days: "the reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God."  

The love of God is but one facet of many that we think of when we think of God, and when we think of God's love, it is often thought of in tender tones, like a warm blanket in the cold or an assuring hug when we are down.  Maybe we'll go a little deeper, and equate love with forgiveness, making the love all the more cherished, as it comes to us in a place of undeservedness.  But that's about as far as many of us Christians are willing to give God room for, as relates to this notion of His love.

The love of the God of the Bible is those things, to be sure, but so much more.  And, it is absolutely correct to describe it as a "reckless, raging fury."  He is, quite literally, like us parents but better.  He rages at evil done against His children.  He delights in the company of His little ones.  And His love is furious and powerful and strong.

It is good for me to think on this aspect of God and on this aspect of His love.  For when I remember the reckless, raging fury, it puts me in the right place.  When I am tempted to think that I have strayed so far and made myself so cold that God can't possibly do anything with me, He chases me down with blinding intensity.  When I act like God is my employer and my job is to do a good job, He reminds me His pleasure in me is not the dispassionate approval for a job well done but rather the innate delight of a father for a son.  When I'm going through the motions of life, the juxtaposition of God's fury snaps me back to the vivid reality that life is actually a profoundly sacred love story that melts away cynicism and despair.  When I start to believe I am strong enough to hack it, the strength of His love weakens me in a good way, and I fall helplessly and happily into His sure embrace as the wounded child that I really am. 

It did not have to be this way.  But God made a way.  And so we can not only be found but forgiven, not only forgiven but loved, and not only loved but loved with a reckless and raging fury.  That is something to be thankful about this season.

"The Love of God," Rich Mullins

There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

Now I've seen no band of angels
But I've heard the soldiers' songs
Love hangs over them like a banner
Love within them leads them on
To the battle on the journey
And it's never gonna stop
Ever widening their mercies
And the fury of His love

Oh the love of God
And oh the love of God
The love of God

Joy and sorrow are this ocean
And in their every ebb and flow
Now the Lord a door has opened
That all Hell could never close
Here I'm tested and made worthy
Tossed about but lifted up
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

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