We are hungry people.
Author Chris Tomlinson explores the contours of these hungers in a pithy, engaging 218-page read entitled Crave: Wanting So Much More of God (Harvest House). Each of the book’s 15 short chapters tackles a different desire within us ranging from comfort to purpose to significance. His confessional style gently coaxes readers’ longings into the light. Here, he discusses the slow “ah ha!” that dawned on him as he learned to quit making prayer into a Job:
“…I stopped trying so hard, and instead, I just sat still before God, open to anything that might happen…silence brought a wellspring of thoughts, each stream cascading down the rocky paths of my life and smoothing over the rough edges of my perspectives about life and faith..I don’t know if I stumbled onto any sort of spiritual secret. I think I just realized that prayer was meant to be a conversation, and I had spent all of my prayer life talking to God without ever taking the time to listen. In fact, I’d talked so much that I often bored myself to sleep.”
Tomlinson’s relaxed discussion of desires also indirectly references classic spiritual disciplines like evangelism. Though he shares a few gutsy stories of how he “just walked across the room” (or set up some lawn chairs with Donald Miller-style signs reading “Confess Your Sins”, “What Is Your Prayer Request?” and “Ask Anything About God” in a public place) in order to engage strangers with a gospel-focused conversation, he shares some of his internal battle over the issue and always frames the stories in terms of obedience to something specific God was asking him to do. By honestly sharing his stumbling, clumsy attempts as well as the mixed results (surprise! his efforts don’t always end up in a victorious ending), Tomlinson offers readers a portrait of the satisfaction that results from pursuing joy instead of happiness.
The book is an easy read, and would make a good discussion-starter for a group of young adults. (You can preview the first three chapters here.) Though I’m not the target demographic for the book, I appreciated Tomlinson’s efforts to challenge his fellow twenty-somethings to allow their cravings to direct them to the One meant to satisfy those desires.
Note: This review copy of the book was provided me by Harvest House, the publisher.