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on 5 January 2001
I was quite sceptical when I read this book, expecting all the usual Christian cliches. I didn't find them!
The first part of the book starts with three questions which so many Christians ask, Why does God seem unfair, why does God seem silent and why does God seem hidden.
Philip Yancey takes you on a journey from the Old Testament to the Cross through to now, examining these three questions and how God has related to humanity. He draws inspiration from the Bible (in a non-cringy way) and from secular writings.
In the second part of the book, Yancey draws this all together and looks at how Christians can respond, using Job as one example among many.
The book is clear, honest, challenging and a very easy read. If you have ever asked the three questions then I recommend you read this book.
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on 16 October 2012
This book is brave, honest, well written and certainly has its heart in the right place. It also offers some very interesting views on why God doesn't appear to be 'present', especially in times of grief and distress. If you're looking for a cure-all for unhappiness however, you won't find it here. But then, it's not supposed to be one.

The book speaks to those who believe in God, but who feel abandoned, unsure of what to make of him, confused by who or what God is and the nature of his relationship with us, or generally just angry with him. It asks questions other books don't ask, but instead of "neatly overlooking the fact that none of this helps in the slightest when you're hurting", as one reviewer said (before unfairly referring to the book's Christian readers as "smug"), because let's be honest very few - if any - authors can or would attempt to take away the pain of bereavement or loneliness in two hundred and odd pages, it approaches the subject differently: -

- It takes the old (and rather hackneyed) accusation that goes "if God's supposed to be great, yet there's suffering in the world, then which of them is it to be - either he isn't great or loving, or he doesn't exist?!"; and instead of assuming that the question is somehow its own answer, goes on to explore what answers there might actually be.

Sadly, the solution falls a little short. For much of the book we get well-thought-out and novel examinations of why it is we feel abandoned and why we're mistaken in attributing certain characteristics to God (and then blaming him for not displaying them); and the author obviously feels great love for all those people going through distressing times, and a genuine desire to offer some light at the end of whatever tunnel they're going through. But once again, as with so many similar arguments, the reader ends up feeling left with little more than "God is mysterious, we just can't work it out I'm afraid".

And that, I'm afraid, is the most disappointing thing about the book.
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on 3 August 2017
Not a brillant read but okay
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on 30 December 2013
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on 16 January 2001
This is a very good book. It's important because it relates the problems not only to the Biblical narrative but also to people's real life stories, and shows up how, for example in the case of Yancey's friend Richard, certain Christian groups are very bad at giving a good, honest grounding in Christian spirituality and build up false expectations in order to make the group more enticing (I'm thinking of student evangelical fellowships actually). Personally, I have only two criticisms of the book; first, Yancey talks about 'divine shyness' when he would have been on more orthodox footing talking of divine humility. Second, his understanding of the Holy Spirit is not personal enough and is vague; it assumes that the Spirit will automatically be found in any Christian church. This view isn't born out by the Bible, which sees the Spirit as God, and as leading Christians in their lives. However he does make a good case for staying a Christian through hard times and serving others rather than being a Christian only for one's own sake. It was a humbling read.
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VINE VOICEon 28 July 2007
I've read the negative customer reviews below and I find them baffling. I rate this book on several levels and I recommned it to absolutely anyone as I am sure that through it those who do not have a Christian faith will find valuable insight into the mind set of those who do.

Here are my reasons for applauding this book:
The central idea is not a explination of why suffering happens, a timeless question which many writers have explored and continue to. The real idea at the heart of this book is the notion that God deliberately with draws his presence from his followers for periods of time in order to bring about greater maturity in them. I find this theory to have a strong foundation in the bible, it matches my personal expirience and I have a friend who wrote a thiesis on this subject. Saddly this is the only book I've read that deals with this idea and I expect that few have been written. I have rarely heard this idea spoken about in churches or at Christian conferences.

Yancey writes with a journalistic conversational style and makes for an easy and engaging read. I have read few books that deal with such a serious subject matter that you can really loose yourself in. This was one of them.

Ultimately I accept that how much you rate this book may depend on whether or not you agree with Yancey's arguments. But whatever your point of view, this book deserves credit for being such a readable, enjoyable and coherently argued exploration of a largely ignored subject.

Ignore the critics and read this book.
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on 30 April 2010
I think this is an excellent book and well worth reading. If you are having doubts about your faith..or indeed dissatisfacton with the way you see God...then this book will indeed open a new persective on the usual way of looking at faith and man's relationship with God. I have found it very helpful in coming to terms with things such as "unfairness" and facing difficulties in this life. Well worth a read!
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on 29 May 2010
Philip Yancy, always manages to bring forthright answers to honest questions from Christians . This book is for new/mature Christians alike.
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on 21 May 2014
P.Yancey , once again invites us to face our humanity with humility and grace
In the face of a weakening faith

Faith is at the centre of this book with Yancey producing valid questions and concerns

What is truly remarkable is that the author with exquisite skill
Gives us a glimpse into the mind of the divine
A window and a ray of light
Showing us that God is a lot closer than we think
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on 30 March 2013
We are very often disappointed with life, with people and we christians are disappointed with God. This book answers the questions which are difficult and make us feel sad, lonely , bitter and doubting the love of God.
Philip Yancey gives the honest answers and explains them in plain language. Highly recommended as a reading to all people who attack christianity.
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