I give Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey an A-.
I read Disappointment with God about 15 years ago. At the time, I remember thinking that it was very insightful and helpful. I also recommended it highly to those who were questioning God’s goodness. Since that time, I haven’t been able to locate my copy of the book. But while on vacation, I found a copy at a discount bookstore, so I decided to buy it again and reread it. Here’s my latest review of this classic book.
I must say that I wasn’t as impressed by the book this time around only because Yancey sometimes seemed to repeat concepts more than I felt necessary, and at times, he uses language more appropriate for a theologian than the average reader. However, in the very first chapter, he grabbed my attention with an encounter he’d had with a discouraged young writer. This young man was on the cusp of getting his first book published—ironically on the life of the “down-and-out” Bible character, Job. Once the young writer had written his book, he encountered several “disappointments,” which seemed to knock the young writer’s fledgling faith out from under him. This set the stage for Yancey’s exploration of how God works.
In his book, Yancey focuses on three main questions:
- Is God unfair?
- Is God silent?
- Is God hidden?
He examines, with an insightful eye, the biblical stories of everyone from Adam to Jesus, pulling out interesting details that I would have certainly overlooked. Here are the four main impressions I gained from the book:
- God wants a love relationship with us more than anything.
- God is fair, but life is not—at least not until we experience life in Heaven.
- God’s ways of relating to His people have changed throughout the ages—allowing faith to supersede obedience.
- God has a divine “shyness” at times that is necessary to develop our faith.
After all these years, I still feel this is a worthwhile read for anyone who struggles with disappointment in life or in God. As I alluded to before, it can be a bit intellectual at times, but I feel like it is often the intellectual person who struggles most with the apparent incongruity of God at times. Overall, Disappointment with God is great book that I would recommend especially for those who struggle in this area.