Sam wants you to know that God is full with abounding passion, who delights in His people, even broken people like you and me.
He bases this on Zephaniah 3:17. His paraphrase of that verse ends, “He celebrates who you are with joyful singing.” (11) God not only loves you, He delights in you. “What makes life livable is enjoying the joy that comes from knowing one is enjoyed by God.” (3)
Sam investigates singing and the power in it. “...[S]inging enables the soul to express deeply felt emotions that mere speaking cannot.” (23)
He explores how much God loves you by looking at the cross, adoption, and forgiveness. However, “God simply will not let His children sin with impunity.” (61) God grieves when you sin yet His love does not falter.
He goes on to write about suffering – because you are loved by God. Be assured, though, that His love will sustain you. He gives encouragement so that you will know “with unshakable assurance that His love will preserve you safe and saved forever and ever.” (120)
Sam is convinced that God wants you to feel His love and he spends the last part of his book on helping you understand (and feel) it. He give suggestions of what to do when you don't feel loved by God.
You might ask if God's love is unconditional. Yes and no, Sam writes. God's love does not depend on our own loveliness but, “God is ruthlessly determined to rid us of our sin.” (80) Later, Sam talks about us being the bride of Christ, infidelity, and quotes Tim Stafford: “The fury of God toward his bride is dreadful. … He will never be content with a bad marriage; he will rage against it until it is changed.” (193)
I think there is a mixed message in this book. God delights in you, Sam writes. Yet God rages when you are unfaithful to Him...which is probably every day, in some way. The subtitle of this book is “Feel the passion God has for you...just the way you are.” Passion, yes. But it seems that the passion is not always delight.
I am leery of taking a verse out of the Old Testament and building a theology on it. I so wanted to be assured that God delighted in me “just the way I am.” But the last part of Sam's book indicates that is not always the case.
Sam Storms is the senior pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the founder of Enjoying God Ministries. He received a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles. He and his wife have been married for forty years and have two daughters and four grandchildren.
Passio (an imprint of Charisma House Book Group), 240 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.