Take Heart followers and folks just really interested in a better way to understand and to communicate the powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ, please check this out. I am one of those today who are weary of the emotionless way that we have been taught to understand and then tell hurting and disenfranchised people—people just like me–about our stunning, unimaginable and unique love affair with our Heavenly Creator. I confess that I too slip back into the old way of defining it with philosophical, theological, innie language that arguably may be accurate but means little to real people, It is largely without power to lift up, to embrace, or to bring hope.
I followed some comments on You Tube. One said, it is absurd. No one can actually make another person feel love. I beg to differ. God the Holy Spirit can and is completely dedicated to that end.
We use generic words like “grace,” very Biblical terms to be sure, but unintentionally (I think) strip it of relational attachment meaning, as if grace was a stuff that God hands out, rather than a way to describe something far more complicated, our new shocking better-than-anyone-can-possibly-believe relationship with Him that we do not deserve nor could ever come anywhere close to earning. Look, we don’t get grace without a God who is passionately in love with us (I am using wake-up provocative human terms in hope of stirring up something deep and powerful within us). Grace is never separate from God’s active relational connection with you. Better grace is that surprising connection.
“Charis,” the Greek word most translated “grace” is equally translated “favor.” God’s gift of grace is the same as saying that of all the people in the world, God has chosen to smile over you, dance over you, call you His special son/daughter. He actually likes you. Is it this possibility of God’s personal favor and desire that we typically offer to disenfranchised image bearers, or have we settled for a lesser concept, some generic non-descript commodity. Listening to many of us, one has to wonder if we imagine grace as a golden Wonka bar ticket that we will need to hand over to Peter at the Golden Gates. “OK, everyone who has the ticket in this line. Everyone else, sorry.”
Better, grace refers to your present dynamic life-changing relationship with God right now that goes on without change or diminishment for all eternity. Strictly because of Christ, God cannot love you any more or any less that He does right now. Wow.
So let me ask, is this the “grace” that you tell others about? That you actually are experiencing right now no matter how others have treated you recently? I have never found anyone, atheist, agnostic or believer of any stripe who argues that this isn’t a good thing—if it were true. Nothing could be more true, or more unbelievable. Grace is that passion of the Holy Spirit within us doing all that He can do to make us feel that uncomfortable devotion toward us as we are today.
So at great risk of straining a pop metaphor, take a look (and listen if you can at https://youtu.be/xweqsdRpG9Y) at the lyrics of Adele’s cover of a Bob Dylan song, “Make You Feel My Love”. This is a wonderful picture (though not without flaws) of grace. Can you imagine God singing this over you at this moment? Can you stand hearing that He is the one who is totally committed to making you actually feel His eternal cosmic intimate love for you as you are right now. That is the biggest thing that Jesus purchased for us. It is a tragic spit in His face to not lean into it more. In the You Tube clip, Adele sang the song as a memorial to the late Amy Winehouse who tragically died of alcohol poisoning in 2011, and a person, who most would agree, struggled to feel such a love that would actually make a difference.
Make You Feel My Love
When the rain is blowing in your faceAnd the whole worldIs on your case I could offer youA warm embrace to make you feel my love
When the evening shadowsAnd the stars appearAnd there is no one thereTo dry your tearsI could hold you for a million yearsTo make you feel my love
I know you haven’t madeYour mind up yetBut I would never Do you wrongI’ve known it from the momentThat we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong
I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blueI’d go crawling down the avenueNo, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t doTo make you feel my love
The storms are raging on the rolling seaAnd on the highway of regretThough winds of change are throwing wild and freeYou ain’t seen nothing like me yet
I could make you happyMake your dreams come trueNothing that I wouldn’t doGo to the ends of the Earth for youTo make you feel my love
Songwriters: Bob Dylan
Make You Feel My Love lyrics © Bob Dylan Music Co.