Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels by Tullian Tchividjian
I have wanted to read this book ever since I first heard about its publishing. Being a rebel by nature, the very title caught my attention. That God would relentlessly pursue even me is the theme of my own personal testimony, but is also cause for shock and wonder. When I finally cracked this book open, my original interest multiplied as I discovered that within its pages Tchividjian had crafted a masterpiece from the story of Jonah. Finishing it only a day later, I emerged with a few quotes and a desire to read it again, knowing that this book will remain a mainstay on my bookshelves for years to come.
“When we sin, that something which we choose to believe in is not no God, but ourselves as god. Like Adam and Eve, each time we sin we’re choosing to be our own deity. We’re placing ultimate trust in ourselves, not in our Creator and Savior and Lord.” (Tchividjian 2010)
“God’s love has a mugging nature to it. We can run, but we can’t hide.” (Tchividjian 2010)
“This storm was God-sent to liberate Jonah from Jonah. It was God’s way of loosing Jonah’s chains of self-dependence. Jonah thought that running from God would make him free. Instead it made him a slave. We can experience true life and freedom only when we come to realize that God is God and we are not—something Jonah was profoundly resisting.” (Tchividjian 2010)
“If you want to live for things that bring only temporary comfort and happiness, there’s plenty to choose from—plenty of ships sailing for Tarshish. Only God can take you beyond that—if you want to go beyond what you could ever become on your own.” (Tchividjian 2010)
“God is more interested in the worker than he is in the work the worker does. He’s more interested in you than in what you can accomplish.” (Tchividjian 2010)
“Jonah’s anger is killing him. He’s a miserable man because he’s not free—he’s still a slave to his own bitterness, limitations, and weaknesses. Some of us are miserable for the same reasons. God is working on us, teaching us to trust him—specifically in those areas where it’s so very, very hard to discern what he’s doing and why. And it hurts. Sometimes it’s excruciatingly painful. He’s telling us to let go of things we think we can’t do without, things we believe make life worth living. He’s pushing us, prodding us to give up our worthless idols, those things we’ve become so accustomed to that we actually think we can’t live without them. We’ve depended on them so long that we’re afraid to release them. They’ve come to actually define us. But they’re actually enslaving us, and by holding onto them, we’re blocking what God wants to give us. The pain we’re experiencing is God’s prying open our hands to take back all the gifts we’re holding onto more tightly than to him.” (Tchividjian 2010)
“But the good news is that God’s ability to clean things up is infinitely greater than our ability to mess things up. Yes, our sin reaches far in time and place, and to all types of people—moral, immoral, religious, irreligious. But God’s grace reaches farther. God’s grace is so massive, so expansive, so wide-ranging, that it tracks down both kinds of runners from God—those who try to rescue themselves by breaking the rules, and those who try by keeping them. There’s no place where you might be now, or where you might have been in the past, or where you might go in the future that will ever be beyond the reach of God’s grace—nowhere.” (Tchividjian 2010)
Tchividjian, Tullian. Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.