by Philip Yancey
It was 35 years ago that Philip Yancey wrote Where Is God When It Hurts? At the soul of that question is perhaps a bigger question that will not go away, a question that has been asked from the beginning of time — Why?
Suffering seems to be woven into the very fabric of humanity and is as unavoidable as pain and death; following on the heels of pain is the question “why?” Job asked it. The patriarchs asked it. The prophets asked it. And there is not one person reading this page who hasn’t asked it.
Tied to this question is our concept (or lack of one) about God. Who or what is He? If God is Love, how can He not take the pain away? These questions get more intense for those who believe that God either causes or allows everything that happens. How can one reconcile this with a God who loves and cares and can do anything?
For everyone who has ever asked “why,” Philip Yancey’s newest book has the courage to grapple with this perhaps ultimately unanswerable question in The Question That Never Goes Away: Why? Without glib solutions to hard problems so common in many Christian books, Yancey deals honestly and transparently with the perplexing paradox of a compassionate God who doesn’t always “fi x things” for us.
There are some real nuggets in this wonderful little book that will serve when the only answer to our question is another question. Here are a few:
Oddly, though, while giving Job a tour of the natural world in magnificent poetry, God never addressed the Why? question…
God has commissioned us as agents of intervention in the midst of a hostile and broken world. If the church does its job, people don’t torment themselves wondering where God is. They know the answer. God becomes visible through people living out the mission … [to] “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Suffice it to say that this powerful package of honest questions that Yancey asks will be more helpful than all the easy answers and glib clichés ever spoken to those who hurt.