“Life is messy and God is mysterious.” What a great way to start a brutally honest volume on what it means to live with faith in Christ. Not only is The Grand Paradox The Messiness Of Life, The Mystery Of God And The Necessity Of Faith a brutally honest volume on the christian life, it’s a breath of fresh air for those who think they got it together. It’s a reality check — a slap in the face of nominal Christianity.
If I can be honest for a moment, not that I’ve ever been a liar, being a Christian is hard. In saying that, I don’t mean battling the issues of Homosexuality or standing for Calvinism over against Arminianism (though I think those things are extremely important) I mean the everyday life; the waking up for church, the loving my wife as Christ loves the Church, the tendency to fall asleep during my morning prayer. Those are the things I struggle with. I don’t want to leave the comforts and warmth of my bed at 5:00 in the morning to meet with the creator of the universe.
One of the points this volume aims to make is that it’s ok to fail. WHEW! To be sure there are other volumes that proclaim the same message but for some reason, be it the writing style or unbelievable clarity, this volume hits that truth out of the park. This volume presents the truth of the gospel in the context of a life of paradox. Most of us know that we can’t know God fully but so many miss the fact that we can know him as he has revealed himself to us.
As a lecturer on Philosophy it’s only right that Wytsma brings up Kierkegaard. Possibly one of the most underrated philosophers Kierkegaard had this amazing notion of what it was to be a person of faith. That author draws this out for us in saying, “True faith is more than just giving up. It is more than feeling cursed and accepting a gloomy outlook on life. Faith is more than public opinion or punishing oneself. True faith is a radical obedience, a willingness to risk everything — surrender anything — with the belief God can, and will, reward the faithful and make firm our hopes.”
Lest you think, “This sounds like any other book on the Christian life” let me remind you of the nuance Wytsma brings to the reader. The Grand Paradox treats the Christian life as one of paradox and messiness. What the author does with the reader is not often found in volumes of this nature. He brings the reader to a place of noticing that the Christian life is not easy, we may not have all the answers, but there is one who does. We are mess Christians with messy lives. We must be vulnerable, open, and willing to reach for the Christ who died a vicarious death on our behalf. We must be ok that we don’t have it all together, but that in Christ, we are made whole with Him. That is the greatest paradox and the greatest truth of the Christian life.