Book Review: God: As He Longs for You to See Him

I started my sports career in the summer between my fifth and sixth grades. I grew up on a dairy farm, so there wasn’t much time for things outside of the regular daily routine of milking the cows, and the seasonal patterns of planting, harvesting, battling the cold and protecting the animals, then preparing the soil for planting once again. That summer however, my dad approached me, and made time in his complicated schedule for me to go out for the little league baseball team. I had a strong arm, but I was still pretty uncoordinated. I didn’t help that all of my teammates seemed to have a few years of experience at T-ball and such, and I was starting fresh. Long story short, they put me on third because I could fire it over to 1st base with some velocity. Problem was, I couldn’t bat. I would close my eyes and swing for the fences, and I can still hear my coach saying “watch the ball hit the bat Wilson!” My career ended in just two games. First game I struck out twice swinging hard at the first three pitches that came across the plate, and the second game I was hit by a pitch shattering my thumb into twelve places. I shook off the tears and jogged to first base that night with some relief that I got on the bag. But my season was over.

Twenty years later, I started my first vocational ministry position, and was invited to play for the church’s historically competitive softball team my first week on the job. Turns out, after twenty years of rest, I hadn’t improved much at the game. I lasted two seasons, but I wasn’t really asked to return for a third. While playing far left field, I learned that one of my teammates was a avid cyclist, like myself. However, Mark declined multiple invitations from me for us to go for a ride together, because he based his perception of my athleticism on my inept play on the softball field. Nonetheless, once we finally connected, we became lifelong biking buddies and more importantly consistent accountability partners, but it wasn’t until his initial perception of me was altered. Until we got to know each other in a deeper than surface level way.

Chip Ingram describes the facets of our relationship with God much like the differences between relationships of dear friends and mere acquaintances. In God as He Longs For You To See Him Ingram says: “What you think about God shapes your whole relationship with him. In addition, what you believe God thinks about you determines how close you grow to him.” Much like Mark misperceptions about me, many people walk through life with misdirected and distorted views of God. While a missed friendship formed on the wheels of a bicycle would have been unfortunate, missing out on a deep relationship with the God who loves us and wants so much for us would be far more regrettable. In this book, Ingram describes seven attributes of God help us see him in 20/20 vision, as God wants to be seen. I found the portion titled “The Love of God” to be the most compelling.

The complexities and implications of the simple word “love” have been discussed in many other books and forums along the way, but I appreciated the time the author took to weigh in on the topic once again. He uses a new word picture, at least it was new to me, to describe the love of God for the human race, and I believe it captures well the concept of a God with limitless resources who desires to pour out love upon mankind. Here is what Ingram describes: “Imagine a vast crowd representing the entire population of the globe, gathered in one place, standing shoulder to shoulder. Now imagine that instead of the oceans and lakes being filled with water, they are brimming with liquid love. Every stream, pond, and river holds it while the countless multitude stands oblivious to it. The depths of love, plentiful and ready for the taking are within its reach. But somehow there’s no connection between the need and the supply. That’s the world’s predicament.”  I find the allegory meaningful, because it brings the depravity of man to light. We are not far from God because he is not near us, or readily available to us at any moment and at any location, but we are far from him because we choose to remain unconnected and continue on with parched lips.

Ingram concludes the book with reference to John 4 and the woman at the well. When she took a drink from the living water Jesus was offering, it would forever reshape her life. “In those moments by the well, Jesus radically altered a woman’s view of God. She began to think if him in wider, deeper, and truer terms. She began to think of herself in different terms. Her encounter with Jesus transformed her into a persuasive witness. She began to know God in spirit and in truth.”  While my journey with Jesus started many years ago with my first sip from the living water, this book was a great encouragement to me. I have been challenged to drink deeper, where in doing so I am re-energized to bring others to the well. Where others can also taste and see that the Lord is good - Psalm 34:8.


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