He Loves Me! (by Wayne Jacobsen)

I first came across Wayne Jacobsen as one half of the pseudoym 'Jake Colsen' in the excellent book 'So you don't want to go to church anymore'. It was a while later when I bought his book 'Authentic Relationships', which I enjoyed. So I went ahead and bought this one too, and have been reading it for the past couple of weeks.

'He loves me!' is subtitled 'Learning to live in the Father's affection'. That's exactly what the book is about. It discusses what is meant by God's love, and how we can be absolutely certain that it will never fail. That means, of course, that we don't have to do anything to earn it. Obvious? Certainly. It's the theme of Philip Yancey's excellent and inspiring book 'What's so Amazing about Grace?' and indeed the parable of the Prodigal Son.

But how many Christian believers feel the need to jump through hoops, even though they declare - with their minds - that they are saved by grace alone? How absolutely certain are we of our Father's love?

I don't think I've ever doubted that God loves me; I don't, as Jacobsen suggests, imagine that he loves me any less when life happens to be fraught or upsetting in some way. But it's not easy to throw off the structure-orientation of my evangelical teenage years, and truly believe wholeheartedly that God truly, absolutely and unconditionally loves me even more than I love my own sons. That he doesn't make life more difficult if I'm not reading the Bible much, or if I forget to pray in the mornings.

It's a very reassuring, inspiring and thought-provoking book. Each chapter has questions at the end, intended for small group discussions or further personal ponderings; but I found the chapters themselves very full, and read just one each day. It's one of the best books I have ever read.

I have one single complaint. The foreword to the book is terrible. It's condescending, full of assurances about how the book will change my life, and how confident the foreword-writer is about what I will think or do having read the book. It was so bad that it nearly put me off reading altogether. The last time I read such dreadful blurb was on the mediocre book 'Purpose driven life', which I don't recommend at all.

Thankfully I was able to overcome my principles and read the book anyway, despite the foreword. I'm glad I did. But if you do happen to pick it up, or borrow or buy it, I suggest that you go straight to the author's introduction. Or, better still, right into chapter one.

Highly recommended.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 12th November 2009

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