During the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, sentenced a soldier to be shot for his crimes. The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell, which was rung to keep down rebellion and crime.
However, the bell did not sound. Upon further inspection, they found that the soldier’s fiance had climbed into the belfry and lung to the great clapper of the bell to prevent it from striking. When she was summoned by Cromwell to account for her actions, she was unable to speak but she wept as she showed him her bruised and bleeding hands. Cromwell’s heart was touched and he said, “Your lover shall live because of your sacrifice. Curfew shall not ring tonight!”
That’s crazy love. Do you know what it takes ‘to climb inside a large bell and hang on’ while someone outside is trying to ring it? What does mind-blowing love look like? A dozen roses? A special anniversary? Paying off credit cards?
Animals sometimes show a remarkable ability to transcend and love in amazing and wonderful ways. In the movie Hachi, based on a true story, Hachi loves his master so much that when the master dies, the dog continues to go back to the train station where his master would arrive after taking trips abroad. Hacki sat waiting for his master outside that station for 9 long years.
The first time young people fall in love they are all in; it is like a really strong addiction.
A 5-year study on the effects of love was completed several age at the University of Technology in Sydney Australia. They wanted to see the ‘effects that passionate love has on the body’. They recorded a surge of body chemicals, like adrenaline, that increased the capacity to think clearly, caused an increase in body temperature, and in most people they saw ‘a calmness come over them when they were around the person they loved and adored’. There was ‘great joy’ and something they said ‘in the nervous system’ like ‘a good electrical charge’ that created a sense of overall well-being.
Our understanding of love is pretty limited. ‘We know it when we feel it’ and can study some of its impact. But love can be confusing and unexplained. It is remarkably complex. There are at least 4 different definitions of love in Modern Greek — and as many as 6 definitions in Ancient Greek. God’s love is more honest, and complete ‘than ours ever will be’.
John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The Bible tells us in Lamentations 3:22 and Psalm 145:8 that God’s love and compassion never fail. And that God has this amazing, crazy love and he wants to lavish it on us. (1 John 3:1) We can only begin to understand God’s love through faith and trust.
His risk and sacrifice is so great, he gave all ‘before we knew him’ or ever thought we needed him (Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:10)
Francis Chan writes in his book ‘Crazy Love’, that a love like that overwhelms us. And if we allow it to – it can define us and transform us. God’s love is so strong, if we give in it will consume us.
A love like that will cause us to fight our own natural desires, in order to please God. If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. Or if God had a computer or iphone, your picture would be on his screensaver!
We are self-centered, thinking more of ourselves- than others – or God. Sometimes we just want to do our own thing. A God so loving, seems … so demanding. What does he want and why doesn’t he just leave us alone!
Now if you are a parent, that response probably sounds familiar during the teenage years. It is risky and at times heartbreaking to love a rebellious teen. ‘It is a time when we are trying to guide and protect them’ and they are trying to break-free. But here is the thing, if you are a parent, “Do you ever stop loving your kids?” No!
We keep praying for them and reaching out to them – like the father in the story of the prodigal son. The dad was waiting and watching for his son. He was hoping and praying and available. And when his son finally came back home, the father ran out eagerly to embrace him. Then he threw a party and celebrated the day his son, who had said his father was dead to him, came back home.
Real love is represented by honesty, safety, caring, protection, guidance, and an outpouring of oneself. That is risky. ‘Real love’ is a father or mother teaching a child to ride a bike. We encourage, we run along side, we guide, we are proud – but we know – sooner or later, we have to let go. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes the child sails off into the sunset. But other times they crash. And we hate it. But they have to – or they will never learn to go it alone.
Crazy Love is an ‘all or nothing adventure’. It is a love that consumes us, fills us and overflows. God is not satisfied if we just ‘fit him into our lives in small ways’.
Francis Chan writes in his book ‘Crazy Love’ that he never really understood his father’s love. He writes, “My goal in my relationship with my father was ‘not to annoy him’, so I walked around the house trying not to do anything that might upset him.”
I have to admit, I have met many Christians who see ‘love’ in these terms. They see God as a judge and they worry about his laws. So instead of really loving God, we walk around on eggshells, trying to be unnoticed by God. We hope God will ‘only see us doing something right’ and ‘miss’ the rest.
God’s goal is not to punish us – but to love us. Yet sometimes ‘God does put us in our place’. That isn’t what he wants – but what is best for us. Like a parent who stops a child from touching a hot stove. If He didn’t. He would be considered abusive or unloving!
God, like any parent, has hopes and dreams for us. God created us with purpose. God’s love is well-balanced and has clear expectations and boundaries. God desires more good for us than we can imagine.
God is patient and he waits for us to come around. HE may hold back his blessings but His love will never cease. He is persistent and always watching over us. And he keeps on smiling at us – even while we sulk and complain.
God’s love is electric, like …
- It is like a new father coming home from work, who cannot wait to see his wife and baby.
- It is like a mother baking a cake for her child’s first birthday.
- It is like that proud day when a son or daughter graduates from school, and they hear a hearty, “That’s my boy!” or “That’s my girl!”
When it all works out according to plan, all the years, all the hopes, all the risk – and all the joy collide and overflow. That is how God must feel when a Christian gets up and sings the ‘heart of worship’ with all their heart, mind and soul. That must be how God feels ‘when all the prayers, fasting, time and commitment – help a new person give their heart to Jesus, for the first time’.
Or when the church really displays God’s love – and they go from being ‘nominal to phenomenal’. And that is what the church needs today. We desperately need more members who immerse themselves in Christ and become new creations. We need people who ‘fall in love with The Father’ and really experience his crazy love; a wonderful, overpowering love that transforms and transcends.
We need Christians who are willing to climb a bell tower and hold onto the clapper for the love of Jesus. Can you imagine how we could change the world ‘with that kind of Crazy Love’?
I want to leave you with this challenge: Two brothers got infected with God’s love. Together they wrote a book, it is called, “Do Hard Things”, it is by Alex & Brett Harris. Get a copy. Read it. It is a challenge we all should embrace.
What if we were all overcome b God’s Crazy Love and did Hard Things? What if we set an example of God’s transforming love and power for others – by having high expectations… Honestly, I get chills just thinking about it. Kind of crazy, wouldn’t you say?
But with God, anything is possible. Happy Father’s Day! Amen