Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud

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Overview

Philip Yancey has a gift for articulating the knotty issues of faith. In Disappointment with God, he poses three questions that Christians wonder but seldom ask aloud: Is God unfair? Is he silent? Is he hidden?

This insightful and deeply personal book points to the odd disparity between our concept of God and the realities of life. Why, if God is so hungry for relationship with us, does he seem so distant? Why, if God cares for us, do bad ...

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Overview

Philip Yancey has a gift for articulating the knotty issues of faith. In Disappointment with God, he poses three questions that Christians wonder but seldom ask aloud: Is God unfair? Is he silent? Is he hidden?

This insightful and deeply personal book points to the odd disparity between our concept of God and the realities of life. Why, if God is so hungry for relationship with us, does he seem so distant? Why, if God cares for us, do bad things happen? What can we expect from God after all?

Yancey answers these questions with clarity, honesty, and biblical assurance. He points us beyond life's disappointments and the cynicism they can breed to a stronger, wiser faith, a confidence in God's deep love for us, and a thirst to reach not just for what God gives, but for who God is.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310214366
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 2/1/1997
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 143,465
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Yancey serves as editor-at-large for Christianity Today magazine. He has written thirteen Gold Medallion Award-winning books and won two ECPA Book of the Year awards for What's So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew. Four of his books have sold over one million copies. Yancey lives with his wife in Colorado. Website: www.philipyancey.com

SPANISH BIO: Philip Yancey es periodista, autor de varios exitos de libreria y conferencista. Sus mas de veinte libros son conocidos por su honestidad, profundas busquedas en torno a la fe cristiana, especialmente en lo que concierne a interrogantes y dilemas personales. Millones de avidos lectores lo consideran como un companero confiable en la busqueda de una fe que importe. Philip y su esposa Janet viven en Colorado.

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Read an Excerpt

Disappointment with God

Three Questions No One Asks Aloud
By Phillip Yancey

Zondervan

Copyright © 1988 Philip Yancey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-51781-8


Chapter One

A FATAL ERROR

* * *

Ever since my book Where Is God When It Hurts? was published, I have received letters from people disappointed with God.

A young mother wrote that her joy had turned to bitterness and grief when she delivered a daughter with spina bifida, a birth defect that leaves the spinal cord exposed. In page after page of tiny, spidery script she recounted how medical bills had soaked up the family savings and how her marriage had cracked apart as her husband came to resent all the time she devoted to their sick child. As her life crumbled around her, she was beginning to doubt what she had once believed about a loving God. Did I have any advice?

A homosexual spilled out his story gradually, in a succession of letters. For more than a decade he had sought a "cure" for his sexual orientation, trying charismatic healing services, Christian support groups, and chemical treatment. He even underwent a form of aversion therapy in which psychologists applied electrical shocks to his genitals when he responded to erotic photos of men. Nothing worked. Finally he surrendered to a life of gay promiscuity. Hestill writes me occasionally. He insists that he wants to follow God but feels disqualified because of his peculiar curse.

A young woman wrote, with some embarrassment, about her ongoing depression. She has no reason to be depressed, she said. She is healthy, earns a good salary, and has a stable family background. Yet most days when she wakes up she cannot think of a single reason to go on living. She no longer cares about life or God, and when she prays, she wonders if anyone is really listening.

These and other letters I have received over the years all lead up to the same basic question, phrased in different ways. It goes something like this: "Your book is about physical pain. But what about pain like mine? Where is God when I hurt emotionally? What does the Bible say about that?" I answer the letters as best I can, sadly conscious of the inadequacy of words on paper. Can a word, any word, ever heal a wound? And I must confess that after reading these anguished accounts I ask the very same questions. Where is God in our emotional pain? Why does he so often disappoint us?

* * *

Disappointment with God does not come only in dramatic circumstances. For me, it also edges unexpectedly into the mundaneness of everyday life. I remember one night last winter, a cold, raw Chicago night. The wind was howling, and sleet slanted out of the skies, coating the streets with darkly shining ice. That night my car stalled in a rather ominous neighborhood. As I raised the hood and hunched over the engine, the sleet stinging my back like tiny pebbles, I prayed over and over, Please help me get this car started.

No amount of fiddling with wires and tubes and cables would start the car, and so I spent the next hour in a dilapidated diner waiting for a tow truck. Sitting on a plastic chair, my drenched clothes forming a widening pool of water around me, I wondered what God thought about my plight. I would miss a scheduled meeting that night and would probably waste many hours over the next few days trying to wring fair, honest work out of a service station set up to prey upon stranded motorists. Did God even care about my frustration or the waste of energy and money?

Like the woman embarrassed over her depression, I feel ashamed even to mention such an unanswered prayer. It seems petty and selfish, maybe even stupid, to pray for a car to start. But I have found that petty disappointments tend to accumulate over time, undermining my faith with a lava flow of doubt. I start to wonder whether God cares about everyday details-about me. I am tempted to pray less often, having concluded in advance that it won't matter. Or will it? My emotions and my faith waver. Once those doubts seep in, I am even less prepared for times of major crisis. A neighbor is dying of cancer; I pray diligently for her. But even as I pray, I wonder. Can God be trusted? If so many small prayers go unanswered, what about the big ones?

One morning in a motel room I switched on the television and the square, jowly face of a well-known evangelist filled the screen. "I'm mad at God!" he said, glowering. It was a remarkable confession from a man who had built his career around the notion of "seed faith" and absolute confidence in God's personal concern. But God had let him down, he said, and went on to explain. God had commanded him to build a large ministry complex; and yet the project proved to be a financial disaster, forcing him to sell off properties and cut back programs. He had kept his part of the bargain, but God had not.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Disappointment with God by Phillip Yancey Copyright © 1988 by Philip Yancey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2003

    A brand new perspective!!!!!!!

    I'm not even all the way through the book and I've already purchased two other books for a few people who I know need encouraging! This book goes into detail on stories we've all heard before but in such a perspective I've never even thought of before. I am absolutely blown away by his directness and with the boldness in which he tackles the different questions we've all had a million times. It's so refreshing to finally know that our questions have been answered we just didn't dig far enough into the Bible ourselves to find them! God Bless !!!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    Help through the pain

    This book has helped me through my own pain and disappointment. It is true to Scripture and, in so doing, shows God from his own perspective rather than ours. Reading this book has helped to re-orient me to the One True God rather than the sugar daddy that I had thought I knew. I recommend it to anyone who is struggling with life, which can be so painful, and with the challenges to our faith that this painful life brings. It will turn you back to the God who loves you.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    Yes, sometimes God is silent even when we scream for attention!

    At some time or another, we all experience God's silence. Philip Yancey does not sugar coat God's omnipotence in that He chooses when and if He will make His presence known or His voice heard. Disappointment With God is an excellent book that takes us through Job's disappointments and relates his experiences to ours today.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing book

    Disappointment With God by Phillip Yancy

    Yancy's begins his book with examples of circumstances from several Christians who have suffered greatly and feel disappointed with or abandoned by God. The author chooses the situation of Richard, the person suffering the least of the examples (but a fellow author), to follow throughout the book.

    Using OT scriptures, Mr. Yancy tries to explain the mind of God. His attempt actually turns eerie (downright creepy) when Yancy imagines himself as God questioning in his mind whether or not man would obey when created.

    It is my opinion that Mr. Yancy conveys the message that those who are disappointed in God are pretenders. They are people who never had "real" faith so they never were true believers. Instead of helping a friend out of a spiritual depression, Mr. Yancy slapped him down and decided he just did not have enough faith.

    There was no compassion in the book for the suffering Christian. Mr. Yancy has his own experience being a pretender as he explains in the book that he deliberately pretended to be a Christian in college until one day he began praying out loud and "had a vision of Jesus". It is also my opinion that Mr. Yancy's answers in this book are no better than the callous conversations the friends of Job had for his sufferings.

    Mr. Yancy's questions in the book were:
    1. Is God unfair?
    2. Is God silent?
    3. Is God hidden?

    My questions for Mr. Yancy are:
    1. Are you trying to prove the old adage "Christians shoot their wounded"?
    2. Do you have no compassion for a suffering Christian?
    3. Did a tree have to die for this book?

    I would never recommend this book to a Christian who is going through trials.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2006

    Fearless Wrestling

    Yancey's fearless wrestling with the uncertainties of faith comes around once again in this book, which I discovered only recently. The beginnings of many of the points he explores in later writings are here. The reassurance that God still reigns, even in our darkest times, has touched me deeply at this time in my life. As he says in this book: 'Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.' The illustration about Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is exceptional! The concluding story about his father is so poignant that I could barely read it. Each time I finish one of his books, I have a new marker on my faith journey. God is honoring now--and will honor in eternity--Yancey's transparency and honesty.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Outstanding

    Philip Yancey touches some of the deepest thoughts and struggles Christians battle. As the smoke clears his considerations are spot on. If you've followed Jesus for any length of time this is a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    DISAPPOINTMENT WITH GOD... A disappointing read

    Disappointment With God is just another book in a long line of books presenting apologies (defenses) for God. One looks for real questions and real answers... but there are none... sorry to disappoint!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Poorly binded together

    I brought the book to give as a gift to someone and some of the pages fell out! poorly made!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    It's not a disappointment

    Suggested by a friend

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 9, 2011

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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