Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 8:06 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 54º


D.C. Collier: A Peek into God’s Heart

Last week we asked the question, “Is God Like Harvey Weinstein?” Put another way, why doesn’t God just force Himself upon us, using His unlimited power to make us submit to Him?

John Eldredge insightfully answered this way, “The reason He didn’t make puppets is because He wanted lovers. Remember, He’s inviting us up into a romance.”

So, if it is not by force, or by creating us without the capacity to disobey Him, how does God choose to relate to us? A good place to start is to consider our relationship with our own children.

                                                                 •        •        •

So why take the risk?

If God knows everything, past, present and future, He would know that angels and men alike could (and would) rebel against Him and bring Him great pain. So why bother to create them in the first place? Why not just keep heaven to Himself without going through the trouble of sharing it with others?

Although such thinking seems rational — indeed, even sensible — scripture reveals a counterintuitive principle that makes God’s universe tick like a heartbeat: love. C.S. Lewis shed light on this enigma in The Four Loves:

“God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe already foreseeing — or should we say, ‘seeing’? there are no tenses in God — the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up.

“If I may dare the biological image, God is a ‘host’ who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and ‘take advantage of’ Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.”

Here then is the heart of the Creator-God who is more than willing to enter into relationships that entail great pain and grief — on both sides — A supreme Personality who is willing to take the chance, despite the risks, in anticipation of the far weightier prize of experiencing perfect reciprocal love.

Contrasting this God-love (literally, agape) with our more down-to-earth versions of what passes for the real thing, Lewis again wrote in The Four Loves:

“True love is a very risky business. There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.

“But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

“I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and Self-protective love-less-ness ... We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.”

The Tragedy of a Spurned Lover

Millions of love songs, books, movies and stage plays center around a single subject — the most talked about, sought after “treasure” of all — true love. It’s in our bones. We need love. Without it, we die — figuratively and literally.

And the saddest subject of all, from the blues to country and western music, is unrequited love — love that is one-sided and destined never to be returned by the other party. Who isn’t brought to tears when a spurned lover bares his or her soul, opening up their heart and becoming completely vulnerable, only to be summarily rejected, ignored and abandoned.

Nothing else in the universe comes close to such tragedy.

Listen now to these words, and try to feel them in this light:

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations — a people who continually provoke me to my very face.”1

And how about these:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”​2

These tender words, uttered first by the God of the Old Testament and then by the God-Man of the New Testament, reflect a broken-hearted parent calling to his estranged children to return to his family home under the protection of a benevolent father. This is God’s heart and the motivation behind his salvation toward man — love that pursues, pleads and willingly exposes itself to great personal risk.

How About You?

Hungry for love? The real deal. No strings attached, no fine print, no cancellation clauses? Consider this, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”3

Stay with us, more to follow.

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. Isaiah 65:1-3 NIV

2. Matthew 23:37-38 NIV

3. 1 John 4:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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