“God is not safe, and He will not be squeezed into some neat, respectable Sunday discussion. God in a box – with a little package of hot sauce and a toy surprise. No. To know God at all is to watch Him explode any box we put Him in with His terror, majesty, and indescribable wonder.” – James MacDonald
The very first time I read this book was back in 2005, shortly after it was published. I remember being in a place of complete desperation for God’s touch. I needed Him more than anything else in this world, more than my next breath. It’s incredibly amazing to me how timely the reading of this book was. It took me only three days to read it from cover to cover, and I soaked up the truth of its pages finding renewed hope as I studied and pondered the attributes of God. The more I came to understand who God is, the more I realized that my deepest longing in this life is to be gripped by the reality of my awesome God. Abundant life can only be found in Him, and true satisfaction comes only from being in His presence.
Gripped By The Greatness Of God highlights six key passages from the book of Isaiah. Starting with the holiness of God and working our way to our identity that must be found in Him, the book challenges us to love God not only with our minds but also with all our hearts. When the truth of God’s Word penetrates our hearts, the result is changed behavior as complacency is removed from our souls. To be gripped by God’s holiness, His awesomeness, His sovereignty, and His works is to never be the same again. To be gripped by God’s greatness is to have the eyes of our hearts opened to behold all of His wonder and majesty (Psalm 119:18). To be gripped is to blow off the dust of a stale, diluted, and mundane version of God. The reality of who God is will shake you to your core, cause you to tremble in awe, and ignite a passion within you that cannot be quenched.
When all is said and done, I want it to be said of me that I worshiped Christ with passion and fervency. I want my life to speak of who He is. I want to be daily gripped by His greatness. Of the many books I’ve read on faith and Christianity, this one ranks in my top ten, for a few reasons. First, God’s Word is the primary focus. Unlike many secular and Christian books alike, this is not one that elevates the human reasoning and understanding of the author. It clearly and accurately teaches God’s truth. Secondly, each chapter closes with three to five practical application steps. It’s far too easy in our culture today to hear the Word but fail to be doers of the Word. I love practical application! Tell me what I need to do, and I will do it! Finally, there is a closing prayer at the end of each chapter, allowing you to communicate to the Lord your desire for His truth to grip your heart. The prayer that is written is just a starting point for the reader to engage further, something that will propel you forward.
Do you find yourself longing for a vibrant faith or wondering where it went? Are you dissatisfied with your dusty version of God? I strongly encourage you to read this book.