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Readers Challenge 2014 ~ Book One

This February has passed me by and I’m reeling. Still wondering where it went.

Oh yeah, I remember.

So my six week old son decided to scare the pants off me and spend a week in the hospital with RSV. He was on oxygen for a short time, but otherwise responded very well to symptom treatment like suctioning and cluster feeding.

Now you know why I did not get out the promised book review last weekend. I have since written up all three and will be posting them on a pre-set schedule this week. And pray that March does not hold too many crazy life happenings.

I need a vacation from winter too…

Anyway, here is my review for one of my favorite books of all time. I found it during my college years (too long past) and have re-read it over and over again for the simple truths and divine comfort it inspires.

Disappointment_w_g

The author is Philip Yancey and Disappointment with God was not the first book of his I’ve read. But it was definitely dropped in my lap at a time when my faith was feeling smaller than a mustard seed and my questions about God seemed completely unanswerable.

Disappointment with God not only restored my faith in God, it also made Job my favorite book of the Bible.

Yancey tackles three of life’s most perplexing questions. Is God fair? Is God Silent? Is God hidden?

The interesting thing about the author’s take on these questions, is that he concludes God not only Loves us desperately and completely, but His agenda is far greater and more fulfilling an answer to these questions than our own expectations of Him.

Yancey does not negate pain and suffering, nor does he pack God into a box built by the human experience. He counters the questions with the concept that God is so much bigger than we can ever humanly imagine, yet He’s made His place amongst us as deeply personal and highly spiritual. His interactions with the human race have ramifications in the spiritual world as we are a big part in a cosmic battle between good and evil. That God chooses to honor us with this role (really, who would have thought we’d be judging angels someday?) is inspiring and a bit intimidating.

It was our choice to put distance between ourselves and God. It is His ongoing choice to continue bridging that gap. The problem we face is the consequences of our choice to turn away from Him. We still have to suffer with those consequences and we also need to realize that sin affects more than just our own spirit’s connection to His. It also caused destruction and decay in the universe God created. We cannot blame God for the choices WE  made (and make).

The author also speculates that the reason God often appears silent or distant is because of something called a Divine Shyness. He could prove His power and authority in one fell swoop if He wanted to, but He chooses to allow the world to continue as it does. Suffering and death and destruction do not end with one blast of His breath. Another word for this is Divine Restraint.

God’s story is all about Love, not Power. He does not grasp for our fealty with displays of a mighty hand or vengeance. He does not force our hand–instead, He works in the midst of compassion and charity and grace. He demonstrates His desire to bridge the gap by the ultimate sacrifice–death on the cross. He chooses to restrain Himself in order to reach us through love, not force. He does not want automatons serving Him. He wants us to come to Him freely of our own accord.

Even the miracles Jesus performed did nothing in the end to convince those who would not be convinced of His divinity and authority. He met needs with no expectations and gained devoted, free followers by showing them what it means to be a servant leader.

Disappointment with God speculates that we are asking the wrong question. Why is not the right question. Instead, we should be asking, To what end?

God holds back because He has chosen to use the human race to restore and reclaim the Universe for Him. He takes the slow path, knowing that our expressions of faith in Him reverberate throughout history and throughout the entire universe. So while we balk at the suffering and the pain and destruction, God is busy waiting on His creation to prove that we believe, even when it seems there is no reason for that belief.

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