Theology

The Furious Longing of God


Once as kids, my brother and I were in deep trouble with Dad for throwing apples from the garden and breaking some panes of glass in a neighbour’s conservatory. We were naughty boys and Dad was furious. And there are probably occasions you can think of when someone has been furious with you too, maybe when you were naughty.

Because of memories like this, I have always thought of ‘furious’ as a negative word or a ‘fury’ as a negative event or emotion. But this book has taught me otherwise. ‘The Furious Longing of God’ by Brennan Manning is one of those books that got my attention because of its title front-cover picture. It’s always good to pay notice to things like that as they kind of choose you.

‘Furious’ and ‘love’ barely seem to be words that go together at all, but this is what Manning has done in this book. He has shown how the thing we call ‘the love of God’ fits like a glove with the storm-like, tumultuous, irresistible, incomparable force that is the heart of Abba Father for each one of His children.

Tozer is famous for saying that ‘the first thing that comes into your head when you think about God is the most important thing about you”. So, what is that ‘first thing’ for you? Is it a disappointed and slightly irritated God, limited by your weaknesses and short-comings? Is it a distant, aloof God bordering on complacency about your role in life? Is it a sort of sloppy sentimentality relating to an ethereal being that has no real bearing on the choices you make in life? Is it a God who is able but just not likely to come through for you?

Or is it a dancing Father? Is it a picture of a Father who is so indescribably passionate about you that He would do anything, anything, to be with you? Not ‘us’ as a race of human beings. You. Yourself. What if we lived life knowing by experience that our God was first and foremost a dancing Father and that His emotions towards us (Ps.139:17) were like (and only like) the force of the sea as it rages or the heat from the sun as it blazes? The truth is, God is first and foremost a Daddy, to each one of us, whether we want an ‘Abba experience’ or not. But we’re invited to know Him so we can say, “Abba, I belong to You”.

This amazing book that I strongly commend reminded me that,  in all of my desire to be bigger and better and ‘maturer’ and more spiritually fruitful, God wants me to know Him as Abba, as Daddy, and for me to be found as His little boy. This is is the apex of all true spirituality.

3 Comments

  • You brought up a good point. Which does God prefer more, to see spiritual fruit and maturity, or to see us look to him with love and worship?

    This is God’s true grace, accepting us regardless of our actions, or in spite of them.

  • It’s like, does an earthly parent want to see their kids, or do they want to see them doing well? First, just to see them and then to see them doing well. The realisation that He wants to be with us regardless is Titus 2’s ‘teaching of grace’ that leads us to the latter 🙂

  • Mmmh, yes. Perhaps it’s not an ‘either or’ as I first suggested, but an ‘if then’ scenario. If we love God, the fruit will grow, the actions will follow, based on an understanding of those teachings of grace. As we come to know God’s “Ways” not just His “Acts,” as Paul Scanlon recently spoke on at ALC, we realize his ways are grace and love. Yes, it does lead us to the actions that flow out of thankfulness. Romans 2:4 — “The kindness of God leads us to repentance”

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