Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What Good is God?

Philip Yancey often lists his occupation as a journalist, however I know of him only as a Christian author. Nearly all of his books that I have read have focused on tackling or considering the question of "Where is God"?. Where is He when the world is in such desperate need of His presence and His healing? As this question is a common one asked by atheists, agnostics, and true believers, it is a good one to discuss. While the full answer to such a question cannot be answered by us, sometimes in the discussion, comfort and healing can be found. These notions of comfort and healing are really what Yancey's book What Good is God? is all about.

In addition to Yancey's work as an author, he spends a significant amount of time traveling around the world on various speaking engagements. Through the years, he has found himself at the scenes of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, prisons, government crackdowns, and hotspots of all different sorts. This is likely natural as Yancey has done a lot of thinking on issues such as Where is God When it Hurts?, Disappointment With God, and Prayer, Does it Make Any Difference?. In his book What Good is God?, Yancey gathers together the talks that he gave at ten different scenes of tragedy and hurt and puts them together. He includes talks from:
  • Virginia Tech - Immediately after the campus massacre in 2007.
  • China - Meeting with members of the underground Christian church in 2004.
  • Green Lake - Discussions with professional sex workers in 2004.
  • Cambridge - Remembering C.S. Lewis. A discussion on how to approach faith in 2008.
  • Bible College - A commencement address on how to make a practical difference in the world in 2007.
  • South Africa - The importance of grace from within the shadow of Apartheid in 2009.
  • Memphis - Living in a judgmental society in 2008.
  • Middle East - The tempest that is the Middle East in 2009.
  • Chicago - Meeting with a group of alcoholics in 2003.
  • Mumbai - During the terrorist attack in 2008.
His collected talks, while illustrating the worst of man's inhumanity to man, provide some sage thoughts for better knowing God, for providing comfort and healing, and for suggesting how Christians should respond in the face of their own personal tragedies. A well written work, heartfelt and humble.