In his new book, “The Great Love of God,” Heath Lambert reflects on his experience of how the reality of God’s love sustained him through a troubled childhood, a painful ministry experiences and especially four brain surgeries. (He went through his fifth brain surgery just after completing this book.)
Lambert is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and an associate professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Though he has written academic works, this book was intended to be more accessible and devotional in nature. In 12 brief chapters, he sketches out a biblical meditation on God’s love from several helpful perspectives.
Lambert observes clear biblical statements of God’s loving character, and he addresses why people sometimes have difficulty accepting God’s love. “Every human being you know will fail to love you well,” he said, “but God never will.”
He notes the experiences of biblical characters like the Apostle John, King David, Mary and Martha. He points to Christ and His saving work as the centerpiece of God’s love for us.
In the face of suffering
I found the seventh chapter particularly valuable as he explains how we can hold onto God’s love in the face of suffering. He shows from biblical examples how God can be trusted even when we don’t understand why he allows our suffering to continue.
“God sometimes takes away His temporal gifts through suffering in order to ensure we receive His eternal gifts by really trusting Him,” he said.
The author does not wade into all the thorny theological issues concerning God’s love, but he does address difficult matters such as how God’s love relates to our obedience and to the reality of hell.
Lambert wanted this book to be one you could give a new believer or someone who is not yet a Christian to show them the beauty of God’s love. I believe he more than met that goal.
Even seasoned Christians will find this book to be a warm and encouraging reflection on God’s love that will anchor the soul in the midst of life in this fallen world.