God is furious (in his love for us)

God is not boring as many have made him out to be. Far too often, how we represent God and his love for us could not be more milquetoast, tepid, and nauseating.

Saccharine and sentimentalist views of God are not only thin and insubstantial like a loaf of Wonder bread, they are just plain blasphemous. I don’t want this benign genie in a bottle who is all smiles and hugs. And God himself is offended by being portrayed as such.

The reality is that if God loves us at all, it’s not with the pathetic mush that I hear pushed by pastors pandering to those who want to feel good about themselves and about the compromised lives they live. No! God does in fact love us. But there is nothing tame or timid about it.

This is the vast Mystery that exploded the universe into existence. This is the King who commands and oceans flee. This is the Spirit who breathes and life is created, who withholds his breath and creatures expire. This is the Jesus who is so crazy in his love for us that he throws himself in front of a bus, dying for us.

The love of God is the driving force of history. All of human history is the story of God’s saving purposes moving forward to his final goal of new creation. Just think of the persistence required to maintain a history-long love. What kind of power? What kind of self-control? What kind of tenacious commitment? This patiently persistent power lifts up kingdoms and tosses others to the dust. It’s massive; titanic. And yet it is decidedly personal.

The personal: that’s where we tend to make our mistakes about him. In his leaning toward us and his power spent on us, we get so comfortable with him being for us that we start thinking of him as our pet, as our God-spelled-backward dog.

No, this is the Energy that binds the universe together.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

The gravity at the most basic level of all things has a name: Jesus.

And with that name, he has a heart. And it’s not a dispassionate heart. It’s a great heart that suffers deeply and pursue itself out wildly.

[Jesus] who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)

Yes, the Force is no silly yin-yang balance of dark and light, good and evil. No, the all-power is a Person who is consumed with loving the world he created and especially the part of the world he created in his image and likeness. He has tied himself to us with unbreakable cords.

There is fury in this God. But it is a fury on our behalf.

So, any response to this God should match his passion. To respond with some ho-hum half smile of semi-gratitude is unthinkable. It’s yawning in the face of the vast Grand Canyon; rolling eyes in the face of a mighty lion; giving a dismissive wave of the hand in the face of the wealth of Fort Knox. This vastness, this might, this wealth is bent toward us. Will we not bend ourselves, our lives toward him in return?