Reckless Raging Fury

A crown of thorns in the stores of Bedford Museum.

Image via Wikipedia

Rich Mullins describes God’s love as a reckless, raging fury. I’ve always appreciated this description, as unexpected at it is, and the song he wrote about it, as it tries to encompass a part of God’s nature that we sometimes ignore or hurry over. CS Lewis in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, used these words to describe Aslan that aptly fit but can seem uncomfortable–one of my favorite quotes:

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you?

Who said anything about safe?”

Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” 

This Holy Week, as I contemplate my own journey toward the cross, my sinful nature I simply cannot overcome, and what Jesus did to overcome it for the world, I found myself thinking about this Rich Mullins song and the way God saves us. Also, there’s been a lot of buzz in the Christian community about a book a popular, controversial pastor has written. I haven’t read it and I’m not trying to debate him or anyone who has, so please don’t try to correct what I think about Rob Bell–this isn’t about him. The reviews I read did get me to thinking about the nature of God. Is He unkind to not allow anyone who is sinful in His presence? Is not allowing them being a big meanie? The reckless raging fury seems so…harsh a love.

But the Bible says in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). So, could the fury be directed at the sin that has ensnared us? This defect we’ve all been born with, this sin nature? Could it be, that if we were in His presence, the Light that is the essence of God, that Light that is incapable of being in the presence of darkness, would destroy us as the darkness is destroyed, because the darkness in us is so pervasive? Not trying to destroy us on purpose, but as a byproduct of ridding the darkness from His presence, we would simply not be there anymore? Despite the perfection of Jesus, when He was on the cross, even though He was being obedient to the Father and was Himself without sin, because He was bearing the sins of the world, the fellowship between God and the Son was broken through darkness of our sin and Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

Now I’ve seen no band of angels
But I’ve heard the soldiers’ songs
Love hangs over them like a banner
Love within them leads them on
To the battle on the journey
And it’s never gonna stop
Ever widening their mercies
And the fury of His love

Oh the love of God
And oh, the love of God
The love of God

Joy and sorrow are this ocean
And in their every ebb and flow
Now the Lord a door has opened
That all Hell could never close
Here I’m tested and made worthy
Tossed about but lifted up

In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

Rich Mullins, from Never Picture Perfect album

A guest preacher at our church pointed out something very interesting: Satan and 1/3 of the angels decided they wanted to be elevated above God, and God let them go without a second thought, hurled them out of heaven. When Adam and Eve sinned, He had a plan to reconcile them, (and all of us who desire that reconciliation) that would cost Him everything. A plan so crazy, no one here on earth could invent or even conceive of it. A messy, painful plan that would allow all of us who make the choice, to see Him as He is, face to face and forgiven. A plan that involved Him leaving the heavenly realm for the humility of being born, not as a king, but in a stable; to live, not in a castle, but without a home; to die, not as a conquering hero, but a common criminal in agony and despair. And when I see and truly believe, and understand as much as my frail mind is capable of understanding the merciful love God showed–the reckless, raging fury that is His love for us–that caused Him to plan and execute our escape from the hell of never having fellowship with Him, it overwhelms me like a tidal wave. His love engulfs me and I am undone in awe and humility as I look at Jesus on the cross and say, “Surely, this man is the son of God.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Meditation

4 responses to “Reckless Raging Fury

  1. robstill

    Powerful reflection Lara. Here’s how I frame it … God is love. Pure love is no longer pure if it is contaminated in any way. Pollution is the consequence of free will. Only God can purify the un-pure. And although he can not un-do what has been done, he can redeem all things for good. This is the mission of Jesus. I think that is a reckless raging fury.

  2. Beautiful! I don’t remember hearing that song by Rich before, it’s a great description of what you’re talking about. Thanks for sharing your heart! Have a blessed Easter!

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