August 2022 Featured Article
There is just something about love in a story, isn’t there? Whether it be a straight-up romance novel complete with the hunky hero and the beautiful heroine in distress, a romantic suspense with the hero and heroine falling in love in the midst of great danger, or a women’s fiction with a thread of romance, almost every book you pick from the shelf is going to have the lead male and the lead female falling in love or developing feelings for each other by the end.
And why not? When we pick up books, we want to get lost in a fantasy where the men are all handsome and come riding in on a white steed to sweep us away to a castle somewhere. We escape the reality of our men coming in from the yard covered in sweat and tracking mud across our freshly washed floors.
But isn’t there more to love than that? It’s all fine and wonderful to escape our everyday lives with our normal husbands and marriages or to dream of having a love like that when we marry someday, but it’s not reality. Reality is dinner burning, the bills needing to get paid, kids to be picked up at school and taken to soccer practice. Reality is couples arguing, cold silence between spouses, sometimes even marriages ending.
The happy answer is that there is more to love than what we read in our novels. More to it than what we escape to when life gets to be a little too raw and too real. And it’s also found in a book. It’s found in the book, the Bible. From the first chapters of Genesis to the last chapters of Revelation, the Bible is first and foremost about love. God’s love for His people.
The love we find in this book is the tender love of God our Father, protecting us and caring for us. It is the just love of God the judge who doesn’t tolerate sin and demands a price be paid for it. Ultimately, it is the abounding, unfathomable love of Jesus Christ who goes to the cross for us and, even though we are still sinners, dies for us and redeems us. I’ll use the biblical term Selah here, which means to pause and think about that for a moment.
Every word in the Bible emphasizes God’s love for us in all its forms.
Neil Tolsma has written a tremendous book, This Is Love, which traces the love of God throughout the entire Bible. It was in this book that I first learned the word hesed, which means lovingkindness or a faithful, unshakable love. That’s the love God has for us. The book, though rich in its theological study, is also written in conversational English, making it easy to understand. The concepts, though deep, are simple to grasp and eye-opening.
Neil is a pastor emeritus, and so used to speaking in a way that brings God’s message across in a way that everyone can understand. For over fifty years, he’s been immersed in God’s word and has been studying the concept of biblical love.
And in September, his follow up book, Love Matters, will release. This follow up is fabulous. Though the love of God for His people remains first and foremost in the book, Neil now turns his attention on how we, as those bought by the blood of the Lamb, should relate to God and each other in love. It delves into how we are to treat each other in light of God’s loving treatment of us. Even if you haven’t read This Is Love, Love Matters is a valuable book to add to your library. It’s perfect for individual study, devotions, or even Sunday school or small group studies.
You can preorder it now on Celebrate Lit’s website and get a special 7-day devotional on love as a thank you gift.
Disclaimer: Neil Tolsma is my father. When I was growing up, though, he never let me win at Monopoly, teaching me to work hard and always do my best, so I apply the same standard to him. I wouldn’t say this book is valuable and worth reading if I didn’t truly believe it.