Agent Romanoff and the Furious Love of God

 

One of the greatest mistakes we can make, is we undervalue the love of Almighty God. We put his wild, reckless love in a box of undersized belief and we bury it under a temple of tradition. God’s love is this. God’s love is that. We think we have it all figured out.

Except we don’t. We have not even scratched the surface of his love for us. Love, like the God who gives it, is far greater than we know or imagine.

Every year, I glimpse a new facet of God’s love and I am freshly amazed. Some years ago I realized God’s love and grace are hyper. Lately I am learning that his love is aggressive, fierce, and sometimes furious.

Furious love. Fierce grace. These are not adjectives that come to mind when we picture Jesus meek and mild. But there was nothing meek and mild about the cross.

A hundred years ago, the poet GK Chesterton coined the phrase “the furious love of God.” I define furious love as relentless love that will never quit. It is a never-say-die love that rescues us from those things that seek to harm us. It is a love that pursues us even as we scorn it. It’s a love that will not yield to defeat, despair, or death

A Marvelesque love

I was reminded of the furious love of God while watching the Avengers: Endgame movie. (Warning: SPOILERS ahead.) This movie is winning fans and breaking box office records, and deservedly so. It’s a good story seasoned with hints of the gospel.

But one scene in the movie has left some fans dismayed. I am referring to the unheralded death of Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. the Black Widow. Let’s call her Nat for short.

In the movie, Nat and fellow Avenger Hawkeye are sent to retrieve a magical Infinity Stone. This stone is needed to resurrect half the universe. Our two heroes meet a creepy guardian who informs them that the cost of the stone is the life of a loved one. Rather than dispute this shocking offer, Nat and Hawkeye argue over who will make the sacrifice. Each wants to die so that the other may live.

Nat: “We don’t get that stone, billions of people stay dead.”
Hawkeye: “Then I guess we both know who it’s gotta be.”
Nat: “I guess we do.”
Hawkeye: “I’m starting to think we mean different people here, Natasha.”
Nat: “Last five years I’ve been trying to do everything to get to here, it’s all been about bringing everybody back.”
Hawkeye: “Now don’t you get all decent on me.”
Nat: “You think I want to do it? I’m trying to save your life, you idiot.”
Hawkeye: “Yeah, well I don’t want you to, how’s that? Natasha, you know what I’ve done. You know what I’ve become.”
Nat: “I don’t judge people on their worst mistakes.”

Nat and Hawkeye must choose who dies and the obvious choice, it would seem, is Hawkeye. Hawkeye has become a cold and calculating murderer. He is a sinner with blood-stained hands. Using the same logic by which he has dispatched wicked men, Hawkeye judges himself as deserving of death.

“You know what I’ve done. You know what I’ve become.”

But Natasha has no interest in condemning her friend for his mistakes. “I’m trying to save your life.” Refusing to listen, Hawkeye knocks her down, runs to the cliff edge, and leaps to a certain death. Yet wonder of wonders, Nat leaps after him and saves him before falling to her own death. It is a breathtaking and totally unexpected exchange. The sinner, as good as dead, is rescued at the last moment by the sacrifice of a friend.

As good as dead, yet saved

Natasha Romanoff’s death must rate as one of the top movie deaths of all time, and it provides a picture of what Jesus Christ did for us. Consider: all of us, like Hawkeye, have gone astray. We may not be murderers, but we have stained hands nonetheless. We’ve lied, envied, and coveted. We’ve bickered and fought. We have wounded people with our words and hated them in our hearts. We have all fallen short.

But Jesus, the Friend of sinners, does not judge us by what we have done. Even your worst is no match for his grace. “Step back from the precipice,” says Jesus. “Let go your sins, for all is forgiven. I have carried your sentence of death.”

Yet some of us won’t listen. Our shame deafens us to the good news. “You know what I’ve done.” Clinging to our guilt we leap from the cliff of condemnation. Even then Jesus will not let us go. With single-minded determination he leaps after us, rescues us and says, “I died so you don’t have to.”

Do you see? You and I were doomed, but Jesus decided to save us. We were condemned by law, but Jesus said, I’ll take the rap. We had gone over the edge, as good as dead, but Jesus leapt from heaven shouting, Not on my watch!

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).

It was not warm fuzzies that held Jesus to the cross; it was the fierce and relentless love of a Friend who will not give up without a fight to the death.

Thank God for his furious love that gets down and dirty in the muck of our mistakes. Thank God for his fierce grace that is not afraid to bleed and die so that you may live.

You may be in the dungeon, but Jesus is there. You may be in the miry clay, but Jesus is there. You may have gone over the edge with no hope of ever coming back, but Jesus your Friend is with you. His furious love will never let you go.

___________

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22 Comments on Agent Romanoff and the Furious Love of God

  1. Wow! This blog post is so powerful! I need to share this EVERYWHERE!

  2. Brandon Petrowski // May 23, 2019 at 1:38 am // Reply

    Yes! That was the scene that impacted me the most also. Well said.

  3. Beautiful, so good! Thank you, even for the spoilers ha ha. 😉

  4. So so good Paul!!!

  5. amazing article! fan of your writing since 2015. i want to start my own too, for the Gospel!

  6. This leaves me speechless. One of my main themes of teaching is on God’s love for us. I can see I have only scratched the surface. It is surely the cure for all that ails us! Thank you Paul!

  7. Completely wonderful!

  8. So many views to see what is done for us, by God whom just loves us. Not easily seen, yet when one does not quit belief, one is being taught through all the troubles going through.

    Father and Son never leaves nor forsakes us, that kid a fact, and I have been through some stuff that seemed as if did. As I have found out as well so have Mother’s also been through things too
    As Father strengthens us in them by not turning away from him, no matter how hard it seems then.
    This type of Love is unfathomable to this day with me anyway. Yet it is what it is from him to use all to stand in faith to this Love for us in risen Son as seen by the Disciple’s and over 500 witnesses then.

    Thank you for being shown the gospel through this movie Paul
    Physical analogies bring in Spiritual realities

  9. Ed Anderson // May 23, 2019 at 11:30 pm // Reply

    One of the best articles I’ve read. Appreciate you and the task you have taken on. Thank you!

  10. Suzan Jacobs // May 25, 2019 at 1:27 am // Reply

    Wow wow wow!
    Paul, I want to thank you for you articles on the Avengers! I have read the first one to my teenage son and it made an impact. Can’t wait to share this one as well….

  11. Reading this article brought tears to my eyes..someone offended me and I thought to myself to stay away but knowing how fiercely Jesus loves me I forgive the person and ready to love fiercely like Jesus loves me.
    Thank Pastor Paul

  12. This article captures what I’ve been thinking lately. That my view of God and his love keeps getting expanded (Holy Spirit doing his thing) and my distaste for religious traditions grows in proportion to that view. We’ve been wrong about so much for so long. Even our grandest notions of what Jesus accomplished must be tiny in comparison to what he, his Father, and Spirit have actually worked out on our behalf. Heroic stories of sacrifice and victory over impossible odds are embedded in the core essence of who we are as human beings. It’s as if the gospel was written on our DNA and finds it’s way to the surface of our existence and we recognize it, when it peeks out at us, as special, amazing, beautiful, and worthy of our admiration. One day, Jesus will be fully revealed as the master craftsman of this epic story, and our minds will be blown… I’m sure of it!

    Great stuff, brother Paul!

    • Amen time to see as Father reveals this to us each Rev. 3:7

      opens the door, that no one else can shut, yet religion itself does try and does this to us, not saying it is on purpose, it is just what it is, flowing through flesh nature in each of us.
      Time to die to self and remain this way daily in trust for Father of Son in Spirit and Truth to lead us new in his love that this world to this day cannot fathom, even though tries

      Thanks for the insight Jason B

    • Thank you for your thoughts .. you nailed it!
      We will be like the elders around the throne falling on our faces in awe as we see anotherf facet of Gods love and grace which will continue for eternity

  13. Early. Hendricks // May 26, 2019 at 1:21 pm // Reply

    Your writing over the years greatly impacted my understanding and appreciation of God’s grace. You also greatly influenced my teaching as a pastor. I am always blessed and enlightened by your writing. Thanks a lot Paul.

  14. Earl Hendricks // May 26, 2019 at 1:23 pm // Reply

    Your writing over the years greatly impacted my understanding and appreciation of God’s grace. You also greatly influenced my teaching as a pastor. I am always blessed and enlightened by your writing. Thanks a lot Paul.

  15. After belief, from God we are saved in his view thanks to Son’s done work. Not seeing this I go out to do to get what got, and can’t on my own. I need God’s lead period in and through me.
    Seeing this the need to have or renew my mind from the old man once believe, I am seeing might be really messed up in religion.
    It seems to me religion focuses on self, to please God, even though when confronted with this, it gets denied as human flesh has a real hard time being accountable
    I know I did and can still have that attitude, not me.
    Yet the Love of God surpasses, surpassed all the flesh attuites of being God himself, not needing it’s creator, bac in the garden

    So is the war today spirit and flesh or is it deeper than flesh? 1 John 4:6
    Paul can turn this way to the renewing of the mind and what that entails please

  16. Jared Westendorp // June 3, 2019 at 9:34 pm // Reply

    I have heard His wrath described the same way as well. Being under His wrath before knowing Him was being under His pursuit of me. Wrath, God’s disposition to rid us of evil.

  17. florry1962 // June 18, 2019 at 11:52 pm // Reply

    Awesome! Remain blessed brother Paul. I’m truly blessed by this article. Thank you Jesus for your unrelenting love for me!!! Help me to appreciate this love forever, amen

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