22 Mar 2013

Although each person is unique, life often serves up the same challenges. There’s an overwhelming number of resources to help you understand God’s Word and application for almost every topic, but, through full shelves of literature, occasionally one sticks out from the rest. Here, members of our church offer up recommendations for Christian books and resources in the hopes that we would all be encouraged to seek Christ in every part of life. 

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Written by Francis Chan. Recommended by Elaine Hou. 

Who hasn’t dreamt about being “crazy in love”? The feeling of euphoria, where you’re floating on top of a cloud and am consumed by that all powerful feeling.  Movies, especially of the chick flick variety, often follow the same formula where two unlikely people fall in love, and it’s the journey towards that final fall that’s both crazy and exciting.

For someone who is a fan of Jane Austen and all of her modern-day spin offs, I feel like the narrative of people from two different worlds finding each other continues to speak to an inner yearning we all have. And yet, for a very long time as Christian, I never understood that a life in Christ is actually the ultimate narrative of the unlikeliest love – until I read Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love.  This book articulates beautifully that there is no love more crazy than an infinite, amazing Creator of the universe who is madly in love with His people.  God’s love is certainly something that Christians often talk about.  In fact, it’s something that non-Christians talk a lot about too.  So do we really understand it?  Francis Chan’s book challenges us to realize if our lives don’t respond radically, then we don’t really understand His love at all.

Growing up in church, God’s love felt like a given to me.  I listened to many sermons and heard testimonies that spoke of God’s passionate love for a broken people.  Yet I don’t think I ever experienced a season in which I desperately needed God’s love more than any other thing.In his book, Francis Chan describes a lukewarm Christian as someone who lives life loving security and control more than God Himself.  I didn’t realize how lukewarm I had become, until I became a mom to Natalie this past year and experienced postpartum anxiety and depression.  This season brought me face-to-face with God’s crazy love for me in my utter brokenness.

I felt so lost and confused those first months of being a new mom, wondering why I felt so anxious about everything and feeling frighteningly out of control and not myself.  I felt guilty that I wasn’t enjoying Natalie more.  I felt alone in ways I couldn’t explain, even though I was surrounded by the love and support of so many friends and family.  Through this journey, Crazy Love has helped me understand that God’s love only becomes real in our pain.  We don’t understand the crazy truth that “nothing separates us from the love God” (Romans 8:38), until we go through a big “something.”  While I have experienced much healing through this season, it’s still very much an on-going process of anchoring myself in God’s love and nothing else.

I currently struggle with OCD, a condition in which I have intrusive thoughts related to Natalie that get worse the more I fear thinking them.  Reading Crazy Love reminds me that what’s truly crazy is that while I can feel so alone and broken, God loves me so much in the midst of my pain, and reminds me daily that the love I have for Natalie comes from Him.  I used to share my testimony only after going through a struggle, when that struggle already had some kind of conclusion. This is the first time I am still walking in the valley, with both its highs and lows, knowing that God walks with me and desires for me to share How He is working.  In Crazy Love, Francis Chan says:

“A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows there can never be intimacy if he is always trying to work hard enough to be worthy.”

This reminds me of just how crazy it is, that God loves me so much even when I have a hard time accepting myself.  Being crazy in love and being loved by God means letting go of what He completely looks past, to see the daughter He created and cherishes in me.  I am learning to embrace what doesn’t make sense.  It’s the first time in my life where letting go has meant being found.

One of my favorite chapters in Crazy Love is about how God is the main character in the Story He has been writing since the beginning of time – we are just the minor characters.  This is very comforting to me, because I know the struggles I experience now are really a part of His greater Story, and He will use them for His purpose in my life.  Through reading Crazy Love in my current season, I realize that when we let go of the right to write our own lives, the suffering doesn’t feel hopeless.  Of course it is heavy with emotion and sadness at times, but there is also hope.  And if God is the ultimate Author of our stories, we can rest in Him.  Francis Chan challenges us in his book:

“Dare to imagine what it would mean for you to take the words of Jesus seriously.”

The love story we have with God is one that challenges us to stop finding our worth in being “good,” but rather be fully accepted in all that we are, transform our fears into praise, and live each present moment with eternity in mind.  Truly, God is the original, ultimate chick flick writer, because the relentless love of Someone who pursues and loves someone so very different than Him is the story of Jesus.  And it is in this story that I know God rejoices when I rejoice, comforts me in His love when I am sad, and gives me hope in midst of my struggles. Crazy Love is a powerful read if you desire to know God’s love beyond the cliché.  It speaks to both the Christian that is either lukewarm or currently suffering. Through Francis Chan’s book, I hope you will also discover the freedom and power of living life with God as Author of your story.  It is definitely crazy and definitely life-changing, one day at a time into eternity.

Read an excerpt or purchase a copy of this book at CrazyLoveBook.com or at Amazon

About the Author

2 Responses to Crazy Love
  1. Thank you for sharing from your heart how the love of Jesus is shaping your story. We’re all being chiseled into beautiful jewels for His crown.

    • Thanks, Stacy! I’m learning a big part of the healing process is sharing our stories while we are still living them. Leading up to Good Friday this week, it’s humbling and hopeful to realize that Jesus willingly endured painful separation from His Father and isolation from his closest friends, so we would never have to be separated from God’s love and can walk with each other in community.

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