“Taste and see that the Lord is good,” writes the Psalmist. Chris Tomlinson gives that verse a 21st-century context in his first book, Crave: Wanting So Much More of God.
Tomlinson is uncomfortable with comfortable. Rather than craving comfort, the author wants to crave more of God, to press in deeper. But with this desire comes trepidation. “It is a terrifying thing to desire submission to a mysteriously unpredictable God who delights in leading people in ways that upend the world,” he writes.
In the chapter called Comfort, Tomlinson writes about the compelling, yet dread-laden, sense that he needed to get busy talking to people about God. But the fear of looking like a weirdo and facing possible rejection filled him with anxiety. Since misery loves company, he recruited a handful of friends to join him in an evangelistic foray into a fashionable, high-traffic, outdoor shopping area. The group arranged some folding chairs in a circle and hung a placard inviting people to “Ask anything about God.” They felt like they were heading down the road to becoming weirdos, but found that people were genuinely interested in talking about God. It was a significant topic for more people than they realized. They engaged in awesome conversations that delved well beneath superficial conversation. And the small band of evangelists found it incredibly satisfying and comforting to talk about, and point people towards, God. Tomlinson sensed the pleasure of the Lord.
This kind of comfort is sadly unavailable to those who refuse to leave the zones of comfort they’ve staked out. Comfort flows from God only when we obey. This is what we’re built to crave. Obedience puts us on a path of discovery.
I enjoyed Tomlinson’s honesty about himself. Quite frankly, he was honest about me and, probably, about you too.
I also enjoyed his approach to his topics. He tells stories. Although Tomlinson is a character in the story, God is the star. And God is the teacher, always helping the author (and reader) to find rewards in obedience. Actually, the tasks seem kind of small as you read about them. But if you put yourself in the author’s shoes – his story-telling makes projecting yourself into the narrative really easy – you see that obedience isn’t that simple, but that the rewards far outweigh the obedience. That’s the lesson learned in Tomlinson’s book; it seems hard, because we crave the opposite of God’s will, but the rewards can only be sampled on the other side of obedience.
Tomlinson wrote this book for regular Christians, ordinary people who are probably not on the wrong track but are living the Christian life by going through the motions and being stuck in a routine. Maybe they are on the wrong track. Well, then, what is it you crave? What do you want to crave? If your answer is “more of God,” pick up this book and get back on track. If your answer is “more of the things that fill my life with comfort,” then you, too, should pick up this book. There’s a wonderful adjustment that needs to be made.
Author: Chris Tomlinson
Eugene, Harvest House, 2010