Have you ever been scared of a book?
I am. Right now. I’ve heard a lot of friends brag on Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. My small group leader recommended it to me and told me how convicted he felt as Chan described the struggles of Christians in areas of the world that are hostile to believers; places where men and women have literally given up everything just to follow Jesus.
I borrowed the book from one my friends almost nine months ago. It has spent most of that time on the shelf next to a bunch of other books that I haven’t read. That was until a couple of weeks ago. I was looking for my next book to read. I was planning on reading Fathered by God by John Eldredge (another victim of my bottomless bookshelf), but my roommate started reading it around that same time. Instead of going through the headache competing bookmarks and splitting reading time, I decided to look for another book and felt nudged towards Crazy Love. It seemed like a good idea, especially since I’ve been holding onto it for almost a year.
Even reading the book’s foreward, I felt an uncomfortable heaviness in my chest. The writer (none other than Chris Tomlin) told me “This book you have in your hand, Crazy Love, may just be the most challenging book outside of God’s Word you will read this year (and for a few years to come for that matter.) The status quo and norms of the so-called ‘Christian’ life that so many of us are used to experiencing are in for a shock!”
A bit later, in his preface, Chan writes “this book is for those of you who want more Jesus.” This frightened me more than anything. I’ve been a Christian for long enough that I know what a statement like that implies. Following Jesus has always demanded a change of both heart and deed. t-hat we put to death those things inside of us that are in rebellion against God.
And death is never painless.
So here sits this very scary book about Jesus, across from me on the coffee table daring me to read it. I’m scared of what it will show me about Jesus and of his overwhelming beauty and majesty and the things that such a God requires of His church. I’m scared of what it will show me about myself; that it will test me and show what my faith is really made of. I’ll almost certainly discover that my faith is not nearly as impressive as I once thought.
But I know that I have to do it. I can’t step back from this cliff now. I’ve gotta know what makes this book so special. I have to see what it is that I am so afraid of seeing.
Francis Chan ends his prelude to Crazy Love with this: “Come with me on this journey. I don’t promise it will be painless. Change, as we all know, is uncomfortable. It’s up to you to respond to what you read. But you will have a choice: to adjust how you live daily or to stay the same.”
So here goes.