Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey

Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey, 2000

Philip Yancey is the preeminent Christian writer of our generation, and he proves, again, why in Reaching for the Invisible God.

Although I did not find it as powerful as "What's so Amazing About Grace?", "The Jesus I Never Knew", or "The Bible Jesus Read", this book is classic Yancey with his unflinching look at some of the most difficult questions Christians face.

This time, those questions revolved around having a relationship with someone we can't even see let alone understand. Yancey looks at many of his own doubts in various situations and explorers the common theme of new Christians full of hope, fading to despair when they don't physically hear God.

Yancey comes to the realization that he probably has never actually, physically heard God and that the number of people in his life who have are less than a handful. Yancey also challenges the people who claim to hear from the Holy Spirit about "people in the room."

You know what I'm talking about.

"The Holy Spirit is telling me someone in this room is in trouble. They're having problems with money. Yes, they need financial help."

I was so glad he called BS on that.

Instead, Yancey says we must listen for God's voice in things. Nature. An opportunity. A friend.

Another great portion of the book is where Yancey battles with the idea of praising God when things are great, yet "letting Him off the hook" when this go sour.

Yancey points out we live in a fallen world, and while God's Ultimate Will, will come to pass, that won't stop evil from occurring in the world.

Instead, Yancey draws an analogy to a hypothetical, punctual friend. If that friend is always on time and then is suddenly late, would you get mad at the friend or assume something happened?

Same with God.

He has done so much good, Yancey is willing to give Him the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, Yancey encourages us to have an "arranged marriage" view of our relationship with God.

Unlike Western marriages wich are often based on romance and how the couple make each other feel, Eastern, arranged marriages, are more focused on the relationship and how to make it work because they've accepted it for what it is.

I really love Yancey's no BS view of Christianity. He has faith. But he's not afraid to question his own faith and admit, no share, doubt when he has it.

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