I first heard of Sam Storms and heard him speak at the 2003 Desiring God National Conference. His message was titled Joy’s Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven, and is available to listen, watch or download here. In fact, all the messages from that conference and other conferences are available for free online – just look around when you’re there and drink deeply from that well. I have listened to Storms’ message many times since then and I have always found it to be an encouragement as he has helped me to think more clearly about heaven and what it will be like. I encourage you to check it out…you won’t be disappointed!
Most of the content from that message is in the final chapter of his book, One Thing, which I wrote about in my previous post. The book is good, worth reading, and has the potential to be used by God to rearrange your life priorities and desires. And it’s only $10.39 at Amazon, which makes the potential rate of return on that small amount of cash one of the best investments you could ever make. To further whet your appetite, here are two more quotes from the book.
The first is a little section called “So What?” and you can find it about two-thirds of the way through the book. Which might seem to be a strange place to put a motivation for reading the book itself, but looking at the surrounding context it fits, and Storms knew what he was doing.
Why all these scientific facts? Because I want you to have something to sing about on Sunday. I want you to have a reason not to sin on Monday. I want you to have grounds for confidence when all else in life crumbles in a heap at your feet. I want you to have something to fill your daydreams other than illicit sex or more money or some other mindless, meaningless fantasy. I want you to have reason to fear God, to tremble before this awesome, all-consuming fire to whom we must one day give an account of every word and deed. I want you to have something of substance to tell your non-Christian neighbor. People who serve a shrunken God have nothing to offer a world on the brink of hell. (italics mine)
These many descriptions of profound truth concerning the natural world are of immense practical benefit, for they are designed to arouse in us awe and amazement at our God and intense trembling of soul and spirit and mind and will. I devoted two chapters to this topic because I believe that knowing God changes lives. (these italics also mine!)
Let me put it this way. Neither financial liquidity nor a diversified portfolio will ultimately sustain the soul through economic crisis. Sheer will-power can’t energize the spirit of man to stand against the increased paganizing of our society. It isn’t therapy or theories about human behavior that will ultimately infuse the heart with hope when terror and death engulf the earth. It isn’t good intentions or psychological strategies or another set of New Year’s resolutions that will ultimately empower weak people to say ‘No’ to the passing pleasures of sin. And it isn’t new legislation or lower taxes or a president of either political party in the White House that will deepen our moral roots in the face of a global erosion of values and righteousness.
What we need is a heart that is strengthened and sustained by the knowledge and experience and love of a really, really, really, big and beautiful God!
The second quote is from the last paragraph in the same chapter, and he is responding to a woman at a conference who was distressed about his descriptions of the magnitude of the universe and the incredible details of atoms, quarks, neutrinos and more. Her distress was that all this talk about the magnificence of God as revealed in his creation made her seem even more insignificant than she was already feeling.
All I could think to say was that this is the breathtaking reality of divine grace, that in this immense cosmos, amidst the colossal structures of creation, our triune God has focused all his infinite energy and love and passionate affection on, of all things, broken sinners like you and me. Though God’s presence fills the galaxies billions of light years away, he has mercifully chosen to become one of us in the person of Jesus. When I think that this God-man then yielded his life on a cruel cross that we might enjoy his glorious presence forever, I tremble. But our ultimate significance does not come from his having elevated us from the pit of guilt and shame, but in his graciously enabling us to enjoy endlessly elevating him. There is no greater honor or higher value than that found in the soul’s ineffable delight in making much of so gracious and kind and beautiful a God as he.
Now, if that doesn’t motivate you to buy the book and read it, I don’t know what will.