“John Eldredge?” The guy at the dinner table declared incredulously, “I read two pages of his book. The guy is cracked!”

I had good reason to be skeptical of the author when this book arrived in the mail after hearing many such assertions of him and various questions as to his character. But I read the book, and more than just two pages of it. I read it in its entirety, and then turned around and read it again. So allow me to settle this once and for all. John Eldredge is not an author that one can read but two pages of. If that’s all you read, you will miss his point entirely and come to conclusions he never intended to give.

Eldredge’s way of writing is deep and thorough. His style is much like a journey. He has to start at the bare-bones beginning and walk through the whole journey with you, or you will not grasp his ultimate point.

The first chapters deal with the necessity of our desires. He encourages his reader to realize their deepest longings and to be aware of their desires. God gives us desires, and when we attempt to squelch them and silence the longings we have, we murder our potential. He introduces his book with the statement,

There’s an old proverb I’ve come to love and appreciate very much. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The wisdom of the passage is simply this—to lose heart is to lose everything. Because everything that makes a life worth living flows from the heart. Intimacy, romance love. Adventure and meaning and purpose. Courage and sacrifice and joy. The list could go on and on. We need this wellspring of life within us if we would live and not merely “get by”.

If one were to put the book away after the first few chapters, they might come away with the assumption that Eldredge is shallow and wishy-washy and thinks everybody else should be too. Or, they might wallow in self-pity because Eldredge woke up all these wants in their lives but left no fulfillment. Keep reading.

Eldredge continues. He disseminates the ordeal of unfulfilled longings, and then he deals with the hard blow of death. He wrote this book in the aftermath of a tragic death that claimed the life of his close friend and accomplice at a time when he felt he needed him most. The trauma and pain of a sudden death was still fresh to him. His disposition of heaven was remarkable, and brought it closer to reality than it ever had been before for me.

As I continued through each page and chapter, the temporal, earthy desires in my life took second place with a passionate desire to know and obtain the ultimate: Christ Himself. My pre-conceived notions and shallowly-set convictions were replaced with a craving to know God for who He is.

He begins the book by spelling out the secret of the heart, then deals with the dilemma of desire, the dare to desire, the disowned desire, the imposters of desire, the thwarter of desire, and then the great restoration. In reading this book, suddenly the focus of desire turns from the material, physical and mental needs and wishes we have to a deep desire for God. To know Him, to love Him.

Eldredge then goes on to encourage the reader to become alive, and enter more deeply into desire. But had he ended his book on that particularly profound note, I would have been disappointed in him. Because there is a time and place where we have to be willing to let go and surrender, even to those things that are closest and dearest to us. He states,

With a chosen loss, we place on the altar something very dear to us, something innocent, whose only danger is in its goodness, that we might come to love it too much. It is the act of consecration, where little by little or all at once, we give over our lives to the only One who can truly keep them. Our walk with God is not to be some set path of rules and regulations, rather it is a grand adventure. A quest that grows more thrilling the more we get to know Him; one where His desires becomes ours. Why settle for something less? Why live a life less than fulfilling?

In essence I think I could sum up Eldredge’s point of the whole book in two words. “Get Real”. God is so real, we need to get real about Him. Go with God. Go where He says go, and He’ll go with you. It will be scary sometimes, but you will be free in Him.

God is calling to you through the desires of your heart. How you respond will set the course for the rest of your life.

 This book may be purchased at CBD–
Desire: the Journey We Must Take to Find the Life God Offers