In his classic book Where Is God When It Hurts, Philip Yancey gave us permission to doubt, reasons not to abandon faith, and practical ways to reach out to hurting people.
And now, thirty years after writing his first book, Yancey revisits our cry of “Why, God” in three places stunned into silence by the calamities that have devastated them. At some point all of us will face the challenges to faith Yancey writes about and look for the comfort and hope he describes.
There are reasons to ask, once again, the question that never goes away: Where is God when we suffer? And Yancey, once again, leads us to find faith when it is most severely put to the test.
In Vanishing Grace, bestselling author Philip Yancey acknowledges the problem and then explores how we can respond with both grace and truth. He offers a discerning look at what contributes to a hostility toward Christians, and identifies three groups—pilgrims, artists, and activists—who can show us a different way.
With a reporter’s eye and a compassionate heart, Yancey suggests practical ways in which we can live as salt and light within a society that is radically changing. What can we learn from those who shun church but consider themselves spiritual? Can the good news, once spoiled, ever sound good again?
As Yancey writes, “Like a sudden thaw in the middle of winter, grace happens at unexpected moments. It stops us short, catches the breath, disarms…. Yet not everyone has tasted of that amazing grace, and not everyone believes in it. In a time of division and discord, grace seems in vanishing supply. Why? And what can we do about it?”
In the wake of recent events—Las Vegas, Charlottesville, Charleston, Ferguson, Islamic terrorism—people both inside and outside the church are thirsty for grace. Vanishing Grace calls us to see their thirst, and ours, in a hopeful new light as we listen, love, and offer a grace that is truly good news.
“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said. “Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.
Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery–and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.
With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”
Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.
Continue the Burpos story in Heaven Changes Everything: The Rest of Our Story. Heaven Is for Real also is available in Spanish, El cielo es real.