I am thankful that God has given me both a desire and an eagerness to read. Hours of my life are spent with a my eyes looking, hands holding, and brain processing what is on a page of a book in front of me. Yet, in the midst of reading many books, I agree with John Piper’s statement, “It is sentences that change my life, not books.”
Throughout my seminary education I have been assigned many books to read. These books have been written by a variety of authors who have lived throughout history and who hold to a variety of theological convictions. My first seminary class was Systematic Theology 1 (which seems like the appropriate place to start seminary) and included Knowing God by J.I. Packer as one of the assigned readings. This book is like a dynamite packed bomb including 279 pages of spiritual explosions. However, as I sit here four and a half years after reading this classic book that I predict people will be reading for centuries to come, there is one page that God has used to shape me most. On page 42 J.I. Packer writes:
“There is unspeakable comfort – the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates – in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovering now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that he sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow humans do not see (and am I glad!), and that he sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, he wants me as his friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given his Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.”
Praise God for these words. As I find myself sitting on my couch in my living room typing these words I am thankful in a fresh way that God knows more about me than I know about myself and still chooses to love me. Many people today confuse the Gospel and think that God will love and save us when we have it all together. Thankfully this is not true because I will never have my life all together on my own strength. Praise God that He knows all things and still chooses to love me. I am thankful that this love was demonstrated for me by sending Jesus to die for me while I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8).
We serve a good God. Thanks, J.I. Packer, for writing these words to help me think about these things more clearly.