Reaching for the Invisible God

by Philip Yancy

"If Billy Graham's prayers don't get answered, what's the use of my praying?" Who dared ask that?!

We don't get the answer to this one, but we do get new insight on many honest and probing thoughts that we are usually afraid to manifest in voice or thought-questions regarding doubt and the complications of trying to sustain a relationship with an invisible God. Philip Yancy, best-selling author of Where Is God When It Hurts? and The Jesus I Never Knew, mirrors the bravery of David or Job in his questions.

The purpose for this book becomes obvious in his statement: "Doubt is the skeleton in the closet of faith, and I know no better way to treat a skeleton than to bring it into the open and expose it for what it is: not something to hide or fear, but a hard structure on which living tissue may grow." He discusses faith in the midst of trials, everyday life, and in the face of unanswerable questions. He explains why the unanswerable questions are to our benefit.

Yancy also probes into the different complications of a relationship with God. Our humanness mandates that we will not understand God completely. He uses an analogy of humans trying to speak to whales. If we were to master the whales' language, we could still only speak to them of ocean matters, because that is all they are able to comprehend. We could not discuss laptop computers or major-league baseball. "That analogy gives a small picture of what it must be like for an all-powerful, all-knowing God to communicate with human beings."

And, of course, he discusses the most profound revealing of God in His Son, Jesus. "By looking at Jesus, I gain insight into how God feels about what goes on down here." He reminds us that a sharp focus on Jesus will answer most of our questions and give us assurance regarding the ones that cannot be answered in this life.

Reading this book did not answer every question I have about God, nor did it remove every doubt I have about my relationship with Him. But it did satisfy me by assuring me, once again, that God can handle our tough questions, that God loves me, and that it's okay if I don't know everything.