26/08/2014

The Question that Never Goes Away (by Philip Yancey)


I was quite surprised to find a free ebook by Philip Yancey, when browsing the Christian section at the end of last year. The title made me wonder if it was actually a re-vamped - or shorter - edition of his classic ‘Where is God when it hurts?’, so I downloaded it, and have read it over the last few weeks.

It turns out that ‘The question that never goes away’ is a new book, almost a sequel. The subtitle is the question:‘What is God up to in a world of such tragedy and pain?’ Yancey writes of his experiences when asked to talk to parents who have lost children in tragic school shooting incidents around the US, and also in war-zones. He continues to ask difficult questions, to attempt to speak to people going through appalling circumstances, without sounding trite.

Of course there are no easy answers - as the author has found for himself, increasingly. His is a refreshing voice amongst American evangelical writers; rather than taking a definite stance he is open to many ways of looking at events and problems; in them all he has an abiding faith in a God of love, but does not try to quote Scripture or to give false hope or pat answers.

Philip Yancey’s writing is always good; he has a talent for explaining complex concepts to lay people without ever being condescending. He acknowledges that each individual is different, that nobody can go through anybody else’s pain, and that we all deal with tragedies in different ways.

And yet, the book doesn’t really say a lot more than was explored in ‘Where is God when it hurts?’. I’m glad I read it; it was a good reminder that life isn’t easy, but that God is still with us, wanting to hold us close, to share in our pain. But I don’t think I would have paid full price for it.

Recommended nonetheless. It’s now available in print form as well as Kindle (no longer free).

Review by copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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