I read The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer for Carrie’s Reading to Know bookclub, which was hosted in March by Shonya from Learning How Much I Don’t Know. Tozer is an author I’ve wanted to read for a very long time, and in fact I had begun a different book by him not too long ago, which I regret to say I never finished. I’m very happy to say I finished this one on the first day of April. It took me much of March to read it, not because I found it terribly long or I had to force myself to read it, but because I read most of it on my iphone. I downloaded the free copy (linked here) for my Kindle, and then my Kindle went on the fritz. I wouldn’t recommend reading long-term on such a tiny screen, but hey–it was free!
I thoroughly enjoyed and was greatly encouraged by this book. I suspect this has much to do with where I am spiritually at the moment more than (necessarily) anything about the book, though given its popularity I assume many people feel similarly about it. I’ve spent the past year (or more) really thinking about Christianity deeply–it has become cerebral for me, and I miss the more emotional part of my faith. In fact, I think I had slipped over into a dangerous place where I discounted the “felt” part of faith, and this book helped bring me back to a middle ground. (Please don’t misconstrue or misunderstand–I do NOT think our faith is based on feeling. However, I do believe that feeling can have some part in it at times during our lives. In fact, leaving our emotions entirely out of it is surely not what God intended!) Tozer speaks to this very thing:
Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with orthodox scribes, but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but he Church awaits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the vail and has gazed with inward eye upon the Wonder that is God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God.
When I first started reading it, I thought it would be a great book to take chapter-by-chapter and journal or blog through. However, my life being as busy at it is, I couldn’t manage that. I did read it one chapter at a time and without breezing through it like I usually do. I think this made a huge difference in my enjoyment and appreciation for this book. I truly enjoyed many of the chapters (and I have the highlights and bookmarks to prove it–I really don’t know when I’ve highlighted or bookmarked more!) I think my favorite parts of the book, though, were the prayers. I’d really like to go back and re-read the book and think about it some more. I at least think re-reading the prayers would be beneficial. (And dare I say that actually praying them might even be more beneficial? )
I wish I could share deeper theological thoughts about it than this. Instead I’ll close with just a few excerpts from my favorite chapter, chapter nine, which is entitled “Meekness and Rest.” This is something I think about a lot, so this chapter really ministered to me.
The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for hte day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father. HE is willing to wait for that day.
The heart of the world is breaking under this load of pride and pretense. There is no release from our burden apart from the meekness of Christ. Good keen reasoning may help slightly, but so strong is this vice that if we push it down one place it will come up somewhere else. To men and women everywhere Jesus says, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” The rest He offers is the rest of meekness, the blessed relief which comes when we accept ourselves for what we are and cease to pretend. It will take some courage at first, but the needed grace will come as we learn that we are sharing this new and easy yoke with the strong Son of God Himself. He calls it “my yoke,” and He walks at one end while we walk at the other.
This is definitely a book and an author I want to revisit. Thanks, Carrie and Shonya, for the encouragement to finally pick this one up!