Have you ever asked God to stop loving you so much? I’m sure that sounds like a strange thing to ask, but C. S. Lewis, in his book The Problem of Pain, explains to us, that if we are complaining or resisting uncomfortable or painful things in our lives – which his providence has allowed – we may be doing just that very thing. Why? How? We are forgetting that God’s love for us is an inexorable love. If someone is being inexorable, they are insisting on their own way about things, regardless of how much someone may be complaining about it and petitioning against it. God has an inexorable love for us, and that means he is going to insist on giving us what is best for us, even when we don’t like how he’s doing it.
Here’s an example of God’s inexorable love: Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem in a fashion which he knows is a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy about the way the king of Israel would come home to his capital city. The people realize that he is making this claim. They are also so amazed at the man, that they cannot think that he could be anything else but the king who was to come. And so, they laud him as a king, spreading their garments in his path, waving palms of royal celebration and throwing them before his approach. They lift up the old hymns of David and sing the praise of the son of David, returned to rule his people. Jesus, accepts all this acclaim. Indeed, when some men told him not to accept it so, he told them that if these people did not cry out with his praise, that the rocks that lay all around his entry would cry out in his honour. In Jesus’ mind, he is coming to Jerusalem as the son of David; for that is who he is. He knows he is the king of the Jews.
But watch him. What does he do, according to Matthew’s account, when he enters the city and goes straight to the temple, where the people would have continued to worship him? He brings judgment upon it. He casts out money-changers and animal merchants, and declaims that they have turned his temple into a den of brigands. He does not tell the Jews what they want to hear. He does not tell them that he, their king, has now come to take up his earthly seat and to deliver them from Roman oppression. He does not tell them that the days of King David have returned, and that he is going to bring them political glory and a religious reformation and revival. Instead he healed some people and turned around and went back to Bethany.
As the days followed this event, it became clear that Jesus was determined to not do what they hoped he would do, and they were displeased. And so, they turned on him.
But here’s what we need to see. From our vantage point in history, we recognize that Jesus, though he was purposefully disappointing the expectations of these people, was actually giving them that which was better than what they wanted. What good would renewed political power and religious practice be for them if they remained the slaves of the sin that had brought them to their troubles in the first place? It was because God loved them, that Jesus was come to deliver them from their sin and establish his kingdom in their hearts. He was their king! And he was bringing his kingdom to them, if they would repent of their sins and receive his rule in their hearts. Jesus was loving these people, doing for them which He, in his infinite wisdom, knew was the best thing for them. And his love was perfect. Even though he knew they would not like what he was doing, and that eventually he would be killed for it, he refused to alter his dealing with them. We see his fixed purpose to love them, even though they would not understand what he was doing. We see Jesus loving his people with an inexorable love.
During the Advent season, we celebrate the coming of the Lord. We do so by spending time reflecting on our lives and preparing his way into our hearts by reconciling our own wills with his will. What we need to ask ourselves is, are we prepared to welcome into our hearts a Lord who loves us with this inexorable love? Can we love, obey and serve this person who will – if need be – go against our wishes, because he knows that there’s actually something better for us? This is the way he is. The sooner we are reconciled to it, the better for us.
Oh friends, let us look up to our Father in heaven, who knows what we have need of before we even ask, and render him the smile of faith. If he has said “No” to some prayer of ours, or if he is making us wait for what we have asked, or if we simply can’t see how he is possibly going to work out something we’ve brought before him, let us trust his inexorable love. Let us thank him for loving us so faithfully, so wisely, and so patiently. Let us sing our hossanas and rejoice in our wonderful King.
Please note that the content and viewpoints of Rev. Beckmann are his own and are not necessarily those of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. We have not edited his writing in any substantial way and have permission from him to post his content.
The Rev. David Beckmann has for many years been involved in both the Church and education. He helped to start a Christian school in South Carolina, tutored homeschoolers, and has been adjunct faculty for both Covenant College and the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. He founded the C.S. Lewis Society of Chattanooga in 2005. He has spoken extensively on C.S Lewis, and was the Director of the C.S Lewis Study Centre at The Kilns from 2014-2015. He is currently a Regional Representative for the C.S. Lewis Foundation in Chattanooga.