Honestly, I was not ready for this book.
I have loved Francis Chan’s Crazy Love (a book that is definitely worth reading if you haven’t yet had a chance), and I expected to enjoy this as well. I don’t really pay attention to what pastors and church leaders are up to in their lives, so I had no idea what Francis Chan had been doing since writing Crazy Love. I assumed that he was pastoring and living a normal American life. I expected this book to be mostly encouraging, and a little challenging. Boy, was I wrong!
Francis starts out his Letters to the Church with an explanation of why he and his family left the church they had built. I was shocked by his vulnerability and grateful that he had been that transparent with his story. He also provided a beautiful example of how to leave well and honor others after you’ve left.
Then Francis began calling me out.
“Slow down long enough to marvel.
The sun is ninety-three million miles away, and you are unable to stare at it. You obviously can’t touch the sun and live, so how is it possible that we are currently attached to the One who shines brighter than the sun? … Why would Someone so extraordinary choose to care for you like His own arm?” p. 35
Here’s the thing: When I read that, I didn’t take a moment to marvel. I didn’t stop to think about the glory of the Lord and the immense mystery of his love for us. And Francis knew!
“Please tell me you didn’t just keep reading. Please tell me you paused for even a minute to worship. You can’t be that busy. It’s no wonder we aren’t known as those who “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible” (1 Peter 1:8). We don’t make time to meditate on His mysteries.” p.35
I sat there, mouth agape, as I read those words. I had done exactly what he said not to do: I rushed past the incredible mystery of the Lord. I didn’t take the time to marvel and worship because I was so focused on getting to the next thing. I wasn’t taking the opportunity to sit and soak in this book. I wasn’t using it to spend some sweet quality time with the Lord. After reading that, I closed the book, repented, and took time to marvel. I took a few moments for wonderment. I chose to behold the Lord and celebrate him.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and not take the necessary time to be overwhelmed and overcome by his goodness. It’s so easy for me to focus on the practical that I forget to be slow. I have to be intentional about scheduling these times otherwise they pass me by in my quest for achievement or work or a hundred other things. But, the Lord desires quality time with us—what an immense privilege that is!
Have you read Letters to the Church?
When was the last time you spent uninterrupted time just marveling at God?
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