Furious Love: Just What I Always Wanted

Brennan Manning writes, “Love by its nature seeks union.” (Manning, 59)

I can see the truth in that. It’s my own life story. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.

I became a cheerleader…

I joined the marching band…

I joined the choir…

I joined softball…

I joined the church…

I just wanted to be a part of something that was big and important, and that did special things. But what I learned is that no matter what I joined, I had to bend over backwards to earn my way and to prove myself. I had thought that just being part of the group or part of the team would be enough, but it never was.

Even in the church. In every church I’ve ever been in, I’ve worked myself to death. I’ve given of myself and poured myself out, until I just had nothing left to give. And as soon as I would give anything less, I would disappoint people. I was no longer good enough.

When I was in college, I began to identify with one of the people Jesus encountered in his life. I felt that I could do nothing right and that there was always someone ready to hurl stones at me. And whenever I would find myself in that place, I would identify with the woman caught in adultery, and I would hear Jesus say, “I do not condemn you.” And with that, I began to believe that he loved me in spite of all of the ways I could never add up or be enough.

I’m still working on that. And so I love what else Manning says:

“…the outstretched arms of Jesus exclude no one, neither the drunk in the doorway, the panhandler on the street, gays and lesbians in their isolation, the most selfish and ungrateful in their cocoons, the most unjust of employers and the most overweening of snobs. The love of Christ embraces all without exception.” (Manning, 60)

He loves me without exception. No matter what I do or don’t do. No matter what I say or don’t say. Whether I attend church every Sunday, or just at Christmas and Easter, or never. He loves me. And that makes me part of something much bigger than myself. Just what I always wanted.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion that’s co-facilitated by me and my friend, Jason Stasyszen. We are currently discussing Brennan Manning’s powerful book, “The Furious Longing of God.” You don’t have to read the book to participate in the discussion! If you did write a response to this week’s chapter, please feel free to link up your post at the widget, which is found at Jason’s site.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Oh Sarah, this is so good…I am just going to have to get this book that’s all there is to it. Wonderful post for this Ash Wednesday. Always a blessing to hear from you….Lori

  2. We are a part of something MUCH bigger than ourselves. God loves us no matter what! What a great thing that is!

  3. God’s love us is permanently directed at us. Nothing will alter His love for us.

    In His love, we are called into His embrace.
    In His love, we are transformed into His children.
    In His love, we are made whole.
    In His love, we live.
    In His love, we are.

  4. It’s funny how we can forget so easily that our working and labor has to come from relationship and not be motivated by people-pleasing or trying to fit in or even not disappointing anyone. I’m totally with you! I get it a lot better now than I once did, but there are still moments and days when I fall under the deception that it’s dependent on me somehow. I can disappoint Him and His love keeps coming. I can go the wrong direction, His love doesn’t change. I want to know this love more deeply! It’s the only thing that satisfies. Thanks Sarah.

  5. Even the word you use, “join” implies union. But when we join two pieces together- insert tab A into notch B- we are the ones doing the work. God’s union requires nothing of us. And so when we try to do it, we find ourselves shoving that square peg into the round hole and wondering why it doesn’t fit. So we get burned out.

    I like your personal reflection- it is a good reminder every day, “neither do I condemn you.” How hard it is to remember God’s love does not depend on me!

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