Sunday, February 9, 2014

currently reading: The Question That Never Goes Away

I think I should rename this series "books from the pile on my bedside table".  And by 'bedside table' I mean the metal folding chair that I use as a bedside table.  My life is so glamourous!  ;)  This week I have been actively reading three books: one to review, one to enjoy, and one to help my husband and I figure out how the heck to parent our toddler thoughtfully.

The book I am reviewing this week is The Question That Never Goes Away, courtesy of BookLook Bloggers (formally BookSneeze).

Philip Yancey is the author of Where Is God When It Hurts?, which he wrote in 1977 to explore suffering from a Christian perspective.  Now, over 30 years later, he released a sequel: The Question That Never Goes Away.  Since writing his first book, Yancey has become somewhat of an expert on the topic of pain, receiving countless letters from hurting people and numerous speaking invitations.  The Question That Never Goes Away is based off of Yancey's personal experiences with three different events: the four year long siege of Sarajevo, the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Each of these events were horrific and ghastly in their own way, but they raised the same question: Where was God during this and why did He let it happen?

I was thrilled to see this book available for review from BookLook Bloggers.  I've read Where is God When it Hurts? and Disappointment with God (both by Yancey) before and thought I would like this one as well.  I wasn't disappointed.  Yancey is a thoughtful, compassionate author.  Since I am interested in the theology of suffering, I have read books by multiple Christians authors on the subject.  Yancey is one of my favorites.  Unlike many others, he avoids offering platitudes or prescriptive advice.  Yancey points to Jesus' example of avoiding answering why suffering exists, instead focusing on our response to suffering.  I appreciate that Yancey faces the issue of suffering head-on and writes of how he was affected personally rather than tackling the subject from a strictly academic perspective.

Some may be disappointed by this book.  Yancey doesn't offer a definitive answer on suffering.  But that is what I like about it.  I feel that any answer he could have given would have probably fallen short.  He wrote rawly about his experiences and emotions in Sarajevo, Japan and Newtown and instead of tying them up with a flippant clique about God's will, Yancey lets the heaviness of these situations resound.  Yancey is an author who seems comfortable admitting that we don't have all the answers, but instead, gives us tools and encouragement to continue living under the weight of unanswered questions.  This book is so important for all Christians would read - I wish that more people would take the time to consider this topic seriously before spouting off harsh words following tragedies.

**I received a copy of this book from BookLook in exchange for an honest review.
**This post contains Amazon Affiliate links

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