I have heard a thousand descriptions of the love of the Father: Unconditional, intimate, fierce, infallible, uncontainable, perfect, relentless, enduring, unquenchable, priceless, unadulterated, interminable etc. And all these are acceptable. Then recently sprouted another adjective: Reckless – quite controversial!
The Father’s Love is a topic that is of key interest to me. But how on earth would one say that God’s love is Reckless?
This question recently popped up in a WhatsApp group for the NextGen Creative Arts team of the NextGen Ministry that I’m part of. Is God’s love truly reckless? Posed one of the Sunday school teachers, followed by an internet research link by Andrew K. Gabriel – ‘God’s Love is not Reckless, Contrary to What You Might Sing.’
I went into my cave… Oh! So, you thought it’s only men who go into caves? I can assure you that the tantalizing juices of the creative essence of the introverted side of an extrovert are best extracted in a cave: solo, without distraction, in a deep solitary world – almost a strange one, all alone. I do caves a lot and I like ‘em big time. They are some of my safest places: free from interruption, void of judgement, endowed with richness of ideas of depth untold, and a place where I can just be me. Then I re-emerged from my cave and after my morning prayer, I looked up and asked Him, “Daddy, is your love really Reckless?”
Reckless definition: heedless of danger or the consequences of one’s actions; rash or impetuous; careless; thoughtless.
Why would Cory Asbury use the adjective ‘Reckless’ to describe the Father’s love and why would Andrew K. Gabriel think that that does not befit the description of His love?
I can only speak/ write from my own personal experience.
God speaks to us in different forms and ways, including through revelations.
When God gives one a ‘secret revelation’, it is one of those things that one will never ever be able to explain, break down and make a 3rd party comprehend. It is a reality that just remains deeply engraved in the mind of the recipient and in the heart of the Father, and not unless God Himself reveals this reality to a 3rd party, they will consistently grapple to understand it. The other thing about a revelation is that it doesn’t have to make sense to everyone. And it never will!!
From a linguist perspective and as a literature scholar, I look at ‘Reckless’, not from surface level but as a ‘symbol’ and a word that has been ‘figuratively employed’ in the song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. And from my very own deep and personal revelation, I look at ‘Reckless’ as a trigger to collision that leads to wreckage.
Take an example of vehicles being driven along a highway, then collision occurs leading to wreckage. That can never occur if all of them were being driven smoothly and the drivers following all the traffic rules to the letter. No! among them must have been a reckless driver. Let’s assume that wreckage is a synonym of brokenness. Wreckage can never occur in a systematic and meticulous atmosphere. Think of the moments God has deliberately changed the course of your plans, taken you through ‘illogical’ detours, stamped His authority and told you. ‘I want this done, and you are the one to do it.’ And you had to shelve your plans/ projects or altogether cancel them. Think of the seasons of separation and preparation. Think of the times you fought to have your way, but shall man wrestle with His maker? Shall clay wrestle with the Potter?
We are also not all at the same level of understanding the Father’s love, thus the Father’s heart. But someone who has thoroughly been broken knows for real that it was neither smooth, predictable nor systematic – in our eyes of course. Yet He ‘lovingly’ breaks us, though in our eyes, it looks utterly chaotic – R.E.C.K.L.E.S.S! For someone who is truly yielded, surrendered and has been completely broken to an extent they look at their own state of heart and all they see is total wreckage as a result of this ‘love collision’, they can only be left with one thought – truly this love is reckless!
I personally love to look at it as a sweet and orderly wreckage! From a figurative panoramic view, I honestly don’t see reckless as careless. And when I say ‘orderly wreckage’, it is not self-contradictory, but paradoxical, which also is a stylistic device that enhances the creativity of the written word.
Ever wondered how five different pastors can speak on the same theme, say Revival, yet none repeats another’s idea or explanation? ‘Cos they each got a peculiar revelation from the Source. God is such a Creative! Two weeks ago, having just completed, the previous week writing a book on Identity and the Father’s Love and translating it into a second language, I attended a very powerful worship concert at my local church, whose planners endeavored to address the topic of Labels in our current world and as I was sitting there, keenly taking in every word from each speaker, I was marveling in awe at this beauty and majestic splendor of the creative aspect of the Father and on how differently He gives revelations, yet, without contradicting Himself.
Back to Reckless Love. So, is the Father’s Love Reckless?
I can’t say that Gabriel K. Andrews from his own personal understanding and experience is wrong in his claim. Neither can I say that Cory Asbury is wrong to define the Father’s love as Reckless. I can however only choose to recognize that Cory had an intimate and personal revelation on this concept ‘Reckless’ that Gabriel didn’t and that both their level of understanding, relating to and connecting with the Father’s heart, hence His love are different.
Well, I’ve only tried explaining this from my own personal understanding and revelation of the connection between: reckless, collision and wreckage in relation to the Father’s Love.
Cory calls it Reckless, I call it Radical.
No, I’m not yet there myself, but every day, I give out my heart and lay it bare for it to be radically transformed as a result of this love collision.
There’s nothing as thrilling to a performer, a child not exempted as walking on stage, into an auditorium or a church to find it filled with adults willing and eager to watch, listen and cheer him/ her on. And over the very few years that I have interacted with my numerous kids in teaching, the question that has arisen quite oftenly is, “Teacher, when are we performing in the big church?” Even a child deeply understands that being watched by fellow children in their Sunday school classroom and stage doesn’t carry the same impact as when by willing adults. There you go!
This past weekend, it was priceless celebrating together what the Lord is doing in the lives of our children. And we celebrated this Radical love in style: through music (worship), drama, poetry and dance, purely performed by our very own children. And we celebrated too dying with Christ and arising anew with Him – baptism of our kids. Yes, we tried to unravel once again from a very fresh and contemporary perspective this Reckless love that dares leave the 99 in the wild just in pursuit of 1: the humanly unfathomable heart of the Good Shepherd.
R.E.C.K.L.E.S.S.L.Y R.A.D.I.C.A.L (think figurative)
R.A.D.I.C.A.L.L.Y R.E.C.K.L.E.S.S (think figurative)
Please don’t analyze so much the word reversals above. It’s just a game of letters, probably, it’s the kid in me too: the kind that you find in every single Sunday school teacher.
PS: What are your thoughts on and understanding + interpretation of Reckless Love?