For the past ten years, I have been listening to worship music produced by Bethel Church in Redding California. During that time I have come accustomed to hearing lyrics that reflect God’s pursuit of humanity, Heaven invading earth, and God’s goodness. One of the most recent released singles out of Bethel is a song written by Corey Asbury entitled “Reckless Love”. The bridge of the song has words that have really touched me in the past few days. “There’s no shadow You won’t light up, mountain You won’t climb up, coming after me There’s no wall You won’t tear down, lie You won’t tear down, coming after me.”
These lyrics infer that God is in pursuit of us. How can that be? We aren’t worthy of that. We are His perfect creation, broken by the stain of sin in the world to which we are born. God has never changed, which means that the care with which He created Adam and Eve, is the same used to create you and me. Yet, along with the measure of faith we all have inside of us there is also an enormous pull towards sin. We are a rebellious bunch and He still pursues. He pursues in the same way that Hosea pursued His rebellious wife.
The chorus, phrasing around which the song seems to be written is as follows; “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. Oh it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine. I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away. Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.” Isn’t that awesome? Full of hope, mercy, and grace? The scripture around which that chorus is written comes from Matthew 18:12, it reads; “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” What does that sound like to you? The relationship between a shepherd and sheep is a very strong one. This manifests itself mostly in what the sheep rely on receiving from the shepherd. The sheep know that everything they need will come from that shepherd. If a shepherd has one hundred sheep, what difference will it make that one wanders off? No one could blame the shepherd for staying with the ninety-nine sheep that stayed in place. But that’s not what our shepherd does. Our shepherd pursues us. Upon creation, like Adam and Eve, we are a part of His fold. When we are born, we wander off into this fallen creation. From that point God is pursuing us towards the mercy, grace, and power of Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!
The adjective “reckless” isn’t an adjective that one uses to describe God in our sanitized world. That word insinuates imperfect or careless. But think about it for a sec. Jesus went to a cross with no concern for Himself at all. He had done nothing to deserve any kind of punishment. Yet He went without any concern for Himself. As a matter of fact, His concern was for those who had spat upon Him that day. His concern was for the soldier holding the nail and the hammer. His concern was for those who had abandoned Him. Further, His concern was for those who hadn’t even been born into this world yet. People like you and me who would rebel against His love time and time again. People like Pol-Pot, Hitler, Stalin, and every evil leader and genocidal maniac who ever lived. What about any of that makes since? The people who put Jesus to death didn’t get what was coming to them, not if they realized it. Not if they came to Him. Peter didn’t get what He deserved. A soldier at the foot of the cross, who very likely took part in the events of that day, didn’t get what He deserved upon His confession “truly this is the Son of God”.
In 2008 Frances Chan wrote a book called “Crazy Love”. Several years ago I wrote a song entitled “Ridiculous Love”. Reckless, crazy, and ridiculous, aren’t the type of adjectives we feel comfortable using describing God or what we believe about God. They aren’t used in any of the ancient creeds. Church tradition doesn’t point towards the fact that Jesus was completely careless, reckless, ridiculous, and crazy on that day. But what He did makes absolutely no sense to my human sensibilities. I wouldn’t do that. And I couldn’t. Why? Because I am stained by something that Jesus wasn’t. He was the only one who could throw caution to the wind and take the full force of sin’s weight.
But why? Because of His love. He loves you! I don’t know who will ever end up reading this, but I hope that it ends up in front of someone who is convinced that he or she can’t be loved by God. If that’s you then I pray that you believe that You ARE loved by God. That God is pursuing you. I hope You can except the fact that Jesus Christ, the Precious Lamb of God, is pursuing you and all you have to do is receive. Upon that, you will become a new creation.
It seems completely reckless for a shepherd to leave ninety-nine of his sheep to pursuit the one who wandered off. But that’s exactly what Jesus does! He is pursing You!