God begins our courtship with a surprise. Taking the blindfold off, he turns us around and reveals his handmade wedding present. “Here,” he says. “It’s yours. Enjoy yourselves. Do you like it? Take it for a spin.” A lavish gift indeed. What’s he up to? Flowers, chocolates, exotic vacations, dinners at the finest restaurants—any person would feel pursued. But what are his intentions? Surprisingly, we see in the first glimpse of God’s wildness the goodness of his heart—he gives us our freedom. In order for a true romance to occur, we had to be free to reject him. In Disappointment with God, Philip Yancey reminds us that the powers of the Author aren’t sufficient to win our hearts.
Power can do everything but the most important thing: it cannot control love...In a concentration camp, the guards possess almost unlimited power. By applying force, they can make you renounce your God, curse your family, work without pay, eat human excrement, kill and then bury your closest friend or even your own mother. All this is within their power. Only one thing is not: they cannot force you to love them. This fact may help explain why God sometimes seems shy to use his power. He created us to love him, but his most impressive displays of a miracle—the kind we may secretly long for—do nothing to foster that love. As Douglas John Hall has put it, “God’s problem is not that God is not able to do certain things. God’s problem is that God loves. Love complicates the life of God as it complicates every life.”
The wildness of giving us freedom is even more staggering when we remember that God has already paid dearly for giving freedom to the angels. But because of his grand heart he goes ahead and takes the risk, an enormous, colossal risk. The reason he didn’t make puppets is because he wanted lovers.