Have you ever read a book that was both encouraging and disheartening at the same time? I’ve read Crazy Love by Francis Chan once before, in high school. But reading it again in my current life situation, it was inspirational while also dredging up some of those “what am I doing with my life?” questions that I’ve been wrestling a lot with. And that’s been hard.
Lots of people say they’re Christians but don’t act like it. Many people try to act like it, but fail to understand the grace and love it entails. And some of us understand that the actions should be motivated by faith and love, and yet, it can be so difficult to live in that. In America, especially, we want to hedge our bets. We don’t want to be too extreme, but we don’t want to be bad people. Chan spends the first few chapters showing readers how great our God is, how short our lives are, and how God’s love and our love go hand in hand.
The rest of the book is a look at the different ways that can manifest itself. Instead of giving God what’s left of time, money, energy, etc., Chan reminds his readers how, motivated by love and obedience, we’re to step out in faith and give everything we have. Give sacrificially to those in need (most of us have more than enough anyway, let’s really be honest); give of time and energy; love the people we don’t want to love the ones who have hurt us or the ones who make life hard; take steps of faith and obey even when it’s terrifying. In short, live the life, don’t just say you do. If we’re truly living for Christ, our focus will be on heaven and eternity and what we can do in preparation/anticipation for that, not the fading materialism of this life.
So many of Chan’s points are, honestly, nothing most of us haven’t heard before. But they are laid out in such an honest way, with his own experiences attached, that it’s compelling in a way others are not. It makes us step back and reconsider things. Questions like: does my life at this moment require faith? Are the things I’m doing today affecting eternity? Does my life as a whole reflect the faith and love I profess (each day makes up my life as a whole, if I’m not doing it daily, can I say I’m living it?)?
The last year or so has been a struggle to find purpose and meaning, a struggle to reclaim my daily life by walking in obedience and love (struggling and failing, it feels). This book drug a lot of those feelings back up, just when I thought I was moving past them. But while it’s difficult to wade through all that, it’s also encouraging to realize things like: instead of waiting for a calling, I can simply be in obedient motion and allow God to direct me from there; the more time I spend with God, the more my love will grow, and when I love God, serving and obeying aren’t a burden, they’re a joy. I may not have the freedom to go to some far off mission field; I may not be in a location where I can get a job that utilizes my skill set for kingdom work; but I can live my life for Jesus everyday, choosing to walk in grace and love (and showing it to myself when I fail, because I do, a lot).
Chan’s book is a must read for anyone who is looking for something different than our run-of-the-mill American Christianity. It’s a must read for anyone who is looking for inspiration to step out of their comfort zone and challenge their faith. It’s a must read for anyone who is trying to figure out how to intimately know God and love Him.
You can’t read Chan’s book without feeling like you want to do something a little crazy.