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Where Is God When It Hurts?

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4.24  ·  Rating details ·  12,268 ratings  ·  303 reviews
If there is a loving God, then why is it that … ? You’ve heard that question, perhaps asked it yourself. No matter how you complete it, at its root lies the issue of pain. Does God order our suffering? Does he decree an abusive childhood, orchestrate a jet crash, steer a tornado through a community? Or did he simply wind up the world’s mainspring and now is watching from a ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 26th 2002 by Zondervan (first published January 1st 1977)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  12,268 ratings  ·  303 reviews


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J.E.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I picked up this book, I was at the lowest point in my life I could possibly be. I was struggling to deal with the loss of my mother and father, dealing with the loss of my innocence that was so violently ripped away from me, I was a single mother who had just gone through a string of bad relationships and I had lost my faith in God. I wondered why God had abandon me, why He took my parents from me and why I had experienced so many horrible things in my life. I thought I was being punished ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
I wouldn't call myself Christian, but some Christian philosophy books are okay (I accept all sorts of philosophies about the higher power). In other words, even though it's geared for Christians, this book will not pitch to you - it's a book that you can read and still believe in evolution.

Where Is God When It Hurts is primarily directed at people who suffer, but it's also for people who are close to those who suffer (we're mostly talking physical illness here). It challenges some common (and re
...more
Mike
This book is a gem! Yancey does a great job of using real life examples to show the true purpose and benefit of physical pain and emotional suffering. I think this book could be helpful for anyone going through physical, spiritual or emotional pain or for those that want to support someone in pain. Well researched, well written and well done!
Lauren
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I believe this book should be an absolute must-read for anyone who professes the Christian faith.

A sentence like that usually rings hollow to me, but honestly, there is nothing hollow about this book. I wish I could physically take the words from the pages and permanently implant them in my brain because there is so much truth to them.

The main point of the book is about suffering and pain and it attempts to address some of the common questions about the subject - why is there suffering, how do
...more
Lynn
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Yancey makes some good points: we can't function very well in the world, as creatures, without pain, which warns us of injury or illness when it's physical, and helps bring us together in a caring community when it's emotional. We can't fully understand God's plans for us, and how pain, suffering, and distress are part of soul-making. Sometimes our ideas of healing and what should happen aren't what God has in mind for us. God suffers for us now, suffered for us in the person of Jesus, and walks ...more
Graham Maxwell
Jan 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Ugh. Watching an intelligent man take a disturbing, unappreciated trait (what is pain, how does it work), discuss the benefits it holds (it's a warning system, look at all the ills when it breaks down)...then tie himself in knots trying to fit it into a narrative where the explanations already demonstrated have done their job and try to ascribe an author to it (but what does God MEAN by pain?)

Profoundly sad, particularly as when he weans himself off the dogma, Yancey actually give some decent in
...more
Bryon
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: Where is God When It Hurts



I've been trying to work through an extremely tall stack of books lately In the past six months, I think I've completed one full book. And it was a novel. I've been in a season in my life where there has been little to no routine and I've not been able to focus on completing one book all the way through unless the book has been incredibly compelling. I've started at least twenty books in the past six months. That is probably a low estimate. I've tried theol
...more
Sarah
Yancey never gives easy answers to tough questions. He never glosses over what you are feeling. This book was a powerful book about the age old question "How can a loving God allow this?"

Yancey gives both practical and biblical answers and advice a style which has bad him on of my parents favorite authors. If you are looking for an honest look at this hard question, pick up this book.
Michael
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Do you like classical music? I do. A couple of years ago, I was blessed enough to be able to attend Jose Carreras’ final concert -- my friend who was related to the concert gave me a ticket. It was a cold and rainy night. Limousines and dressed up people showed up quietly, like attending a serious ceremony. In the concert hall, it felt like right before a worship service at a Presbyterian Church because everyone was very quiet and solemnly expecting the Master’s appearance. When I opened the pro ...more
Linda
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bible-study, 2020
Great book whether you’re in a painful place or not, we all will experience pain caused by different circumstances in his life.
Steve Miller
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was written more than 40 years ago and is still in print. It's nearly impossible for a book to do that, and is an indication of its importance.

I saw somewhere that this is the revised edition. My copy is the original edition, though I expect the core of the book to be much the same as this edition.

The book, while not long, has three sections: 1) Why is there such a thing as pain? 2) How people respond to pain, and 3) How can we cope with pain?

The first section is the most surprising an
...more
Nat
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book a while ago, but the one thing that I remember from it is that pain serves as a warning sign to us human beings that something is wrong with this world- of course we all know that. But what exactly is wrong with humanity? That takes us to the core principles of Christianity- God sending His only, beloved Son Jesus to earth to redeem us from our sins, to right all wrongs (including ours) so we can have hope in eternity with Him.

Just like when you have a bruise somewhere on your
...more
Michael
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
If you are in pain and trial, and looking for answer to "why? I do not deserve all of that, " this book can give you answers. Unfortunately, not to your specific question. The answer for that, according to the author, is that God never answered Job when he asked same question, but only lectured him about His wisdom (page 100 and next few pages). However, you will find answers about the benefits of pain (signals of malfunction, personal growth,.. etc)

The author is very verbose. The book could be
...more
Rob
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspiration
This is one of the most powerful books I have been impacted by. I read it shortly after experiencing one of the most devastating losses in my life. I recommend this for anybody who has been, or is, hurting for some interesting perspectives on God's role/place in our lives.
Alyssia Cooke
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, religious
Sorry, I appear to have moved back onto theology books but this is a fantastic book of theology. It has won the Gold Medallion award and has been a best-seller for over fifty years, and this edition is the revised edition by the author so he could explore issues that had arisen during this time. Philip Yancey uses this book as an opportunity to discuss pain - physical, emotional and spiritual - in such a way as to help both the reader and himself to understand why we suffer from pain and how we ...more
David Sarkies
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christiand and non-Christians alike
Recommended to David by: Some guy at church
Shelves: christian
A theological exploration of pain
14 January 2014

Disappointment with God seemed to have covered a lot of ground that this book ended up covering and I noted that at the beginning of the other book Yancey had made a comment that he had decided to write Disappointment with God to tackle the issue of, for want of a better word, bad luck in general beyond the issue of physical pain. However as I was reading this book I began to realise that you cannot actually separate the two, and whether it be phy
...more
Mr.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I might be more detailed in this later so there might be a modification to this, but this really was a good book. I don't even recall who told me about this one (I'll have to look on Twitter), but I didn't know what to expect. And I didn't know a lot about things that the book presented to me as well (for example, I didn't know all of what it described about what leprosy does to a person)...but this one was a refreshing read. I like how Mr. Yancey seems to not be trying to answer where the Bible ...more
Daniel
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my 4th Yancey book, and I think it's my favorite. He really wrestles with the question that is also the title of the book. There are no straightforward, one-size-fits-all answers. If God did not directly address that when he spoke to Job, we should be extremely cautious in putting words in God's mouth. It didn't serve Job's friends well to do that. Yancey addresses the problem of pain in the physical sense as well as emotional (i.e. grief from loss of loved one, failed relationship, etc. ...more
Jebin Deva
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful book it gives us very good understanding of God when we are in pain and struggles in our life.
Nathan
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yancey wrote this book in his twenties and then conducted a major rewrite 15 years later. In that time, many people continued discoursing on the matter with him in that time, which prompted new material. The result is a thoughtful book on a challenging subject. Yancey opened his book with a quote by C.S. Lewis who was writing amid great pain:

Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him…if you remember yo
...more
Christina Bivins
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me through a large turning point in my life. I've gifted many copies to others.
Donald Owens II
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, and I expected to, and in many parts I did. But something really bothered me as I read it. It was hard to put my finger on, so I immediately re-read it. I think it boils down to three things.

First, Yancey tries so hard to be inoffensive that he is inconclusive. For instance, after making a good case for Lewis's “megaphone” value of suffering, he goes on to gut it of value: “I do not say God allows suffering because of this megaphone value.” Then why bring it up
...more
Chris Waterguy
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
A comforting book to a person of faith experiencing grief. And I salute Yancey's honesty - he asks the hard questions, even when he doesn't have answers.

But that's also the problem. He doesn't have answers, other than giving up and choosing to trust God. This book isn't the reason I stopped believing, but it didn't give me strong reasons to keep believing. To be fair, neither did anyone else, and at least Yancey made an effort to look at reality.
Karen Wingate
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Philip Yancey's book, "Where Is God When It Hurts?" many years ago but read it again and oh, how I needed to hear those words again. It spoke to me at a whole new level. Pain is necessary, it's what we do with the pain that matters, and God has something so much better waiting for us when He promises, "No More Pain!" I agree with one reviewer - this book is an absolute must-read for anyone who professes Christianity.
Samantha Mcdade
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I was like, "FINALLY! Someone with real feelings." Some people act like super Christians. It was refreshing to see a person write from the perspective of a questioning and afraid Christian. It really is okay to wonder sometimes.
Ron
A contemporary re-visitation of the Problem of Pain. Well done. Yancy feels our pain, even if he doesn't have any particular help for it.

Worth re-reading.
Lela
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good book to read when you hurt. He doesn't tell you how to make it go away but he does put a lot of things into perspective.
George
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read it in one sitting. Excellent.
Brittany S
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, faith
Having first heard of this book via reference in my daily devotional, I wanted to read it because of the way the title applied:

I have had instances of acute pain, and in such have wondered where God fits into that level of hurt.
After the hospitalization of a very close family member, I myself have experienced a lot of emotional hurt with all of the changes and challenges that their pain brings.

The book focuses solely on physical pain, everything from why pain receptors are an undervalued part of
...more
Spencer
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My appraisal of this book, Where Is God When It Hurts?, is that it is one of the best books I have ever read. It was scientific and spiritual, painful yet enlightening, easy to read but challenging. Through these elements, I have been awakened to a new perspective on pain: of my own and of others that I have encountered and will encounter in the future.

Mr. Yancey began his book about pain and suffering with a biological perspective on pain and the need for it. As a biologist myself, I had never
...more
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A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Philip Yancey earned graduate degrees in Communications and English from Wheaton College Graduate School and the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of Campus Life Magazine in 1971, and worked there as Editor and then Publisher. He looks on those years with gratitude, because teenagers are demanding readers, and writing for them taught him a lasting principle: ...more

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14 likes · 2 comments
“God wants us to choose to love him freely, even when that choice involves pain, because we are committed to him, not to our own good feelings and rewards. He wants us to cleave to him, as Job did, even when we have every reason to deny him hotly. That, I believe, is the central message of Job. Satan had taunted God with the accusation that humans are not truly free. Was Job being faithful simply because God had allowed him a prosperous life? Job's fiery trials proved the answer beyond doubt. Job clung to God's justice when he was the best example in history of God's apparent injustice. He did not seek the Giver because of his gifts; when all gifts were removed he still sought the Giver.” 84 likes
“We feel pain as an outrage; Jesus did too, which is why he performed miracles of healing. In Gethsemane, he did not pray, “Thank you for this opportunity to suffer,” but rather pled desperately for an escape. And yet he was willing to undergo suffering in service of a higher goal. In the end he left the hard questions (“if there be any other way . . .”) to the will of the Father, and trusted that God could use even the outrage of his death for good.” 14 likes
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