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Summary

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 he cares for us, do bad things happen? What can we expect from him after all?

Yancey answers these questions with clarity, richness, and biblical assurance. He takes us beyond the things that make for disillusionment to a deeper faith, a certitude of God's love, and a thirst to reach not just for what God gives, but for who he is.

©1988 Philip Yancey (P)2008 Zondervan

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • cynthia
  • 01-04-11

On the defensive

The premise of this book is that Richard, young acquaintance of Yancey's, lost his faith in the process of completing a degree at a Christian college-- prompting Yancey to embark on a two-week silent retreat in which he reads the Bible from cover to cover, attempting to find a response to Richard's questions.

What results is a fairly traditional set of theodicies (attempts to explain the apparent co-existence of God and of evil). There are many such theodices floating around. In Disappointment With God, Yancey posits three of them:

1. If God were more inclined to intervence in the world and to perform miracles, we would actually be less inclined toward faith-- we would gripe and be dissatisfied, as were the ancient Hebrews wandering in the desert with their pillar-of-fire God.

2. Things may SEEM to be going horribly for us, but God has a greater plan, just as was the case for Job. Everything will eventually work out for the best.

3. It may seem possible to explain the events of the world without God, but such a view is reductionistic, somewhat like characterizing a symphony in terms of its sound waves. (This discussion moves somewhat away from the Problem of Pain)

That these (or any) theodices are problematic has been discussed at length elsewhere, and there is no space to do so here. To Yancey's credit, he at least writes with empathy and with a reluctance to blame either the victim, or anyone else, for the existence of pain. I also sense that he is opening these questions to a community for whom they are taboo.


However, I dare say that Yancey ultimately fails to answer Richard's questions. His explanations for the Problem of Pain lead us to some rather terrible conclusions, in short, that for God, the end justifies the means and also the idea that to have faith un-bolstered by miracles is "worth" the sacrifice of human lives.

For a more interesting consideration of "God's point of view", I would recommend "God: A Biography" by Jack Miles.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ling G
  • 01-04-13

Good content

What did you love best about Disappointment with God?

The book is honest and tries to deal with this very hard question truthfully. It's given me some answers and I'm satisfied with them.

What other book might you compare Disappointment with God to and why?

I haven't read any other books on this topic but what I liked about it is that Yancey did not try to 'convince' people about the reality of God, but dealt with this question honestly, giving his own 'doubtful' experience.

What does Jay Charles bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He is a good reader but I guess his accent is difficult for me sometimes.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No.

Any additional comments?

Good book overall. I was inspired by it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Manie
  • 09-04-12

Yancey at his best. Extremely upliftting.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. You will reconsider your times of doubt.

What other book might you compare Disappointment with God to and why?

Lee Strobel's

Have you listened to any of Jay Charles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but this was very good.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It changed me and took many doubts in God away.

Any additional comments?

For any Christian who experienced disappointments and sometimes feel that God is silent in times of his/her crisis. This is highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • BoyMom
  • 09-01-12

Classic Book Excellently Read

This is a great narration of this classic book. For anyone who has ever wondered, "Why doesn't God just..." or "Where was God when..." this is a must-listen. The reader conveys the book's meaning well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Olu
  • 10-03-18

Very deep insights from Yancey

The insights revealed in the book were so deep. I found myself looking at the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness from a very new perspective- what happened to them happens to me everyday. And it was so helpful to realize that even if God came and talked to me in form of a cloud everyday and He directly fed me and gave me water, I might still not love Him any more than I do today. Instead I might fear Him more and maybe even take Him for granted but not necessarily love Him more. When I'm disappointed I keep thinking everything will be ok if God just revealed Himself and explained His actions to me. But it's no guarantee for a more trusting relationship. Yancey helped me see that clearly. A tough lesson indeed. I give it 4 stars because I felt like there wasn't enough of God's loving and compassionate side revealed. The focus was a lot on God's fidelity which is good - not many texts out there dare dive into this unpopular side of God. Yancey took the plunge. But in doing so, we missed some of God's kinder and more compassionate side. But all in all a fantastic read for any Christian, dealing with disappointment or not.

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  • g
  • 07-03-18

Very powerful book.

It was on my reading list for a class I am taking.
It offered answers to better understand God 's existence.

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  • Michelle Petersen
  • 17-12-17

a better perspective

when struggling, this book gives a higher perspective. Something to consider when life is difficult.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-11-17

Good book

A very good book when you are truly angry or disappointed with God. Thankful I read this.

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  • B. Walker
  • 09-09-17

Perhaps the best theological discussion ever

Easily the most profound treatment of contending with God's seeming failure to meet our expectations. This book is soul-bending spiritual wrestling match that Christians and skeptics alike would do well to consider.

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  • Jason
  • 04-07-17

Absolutely wonderful!!

God always speaks so clearly to me through Philip Yancey. Very solid and well spoken truth.