Thursday, September 18, 2008

If God Disappears

Mia came home from school yesterday wanting to tell me her plans for the future. She's gone through several phases (as most kids do) about what she wants to be when she grows up. She's wanted to be a teacher, veterinarian, singer, famous (how didn't matter, as long as she was on a toothbrush), ballet dancer, and always a mommy. This is what she said today. "Mommy, do you know what I'm going to be when I grow up? I'm going to be a mommy and someone who flies around in outer space." Astronaut, I interjected. "Yes, an astronaut. And you know what I'm going to do with my daughter until she's ten? I'm going to hire a babysitter who will take care of her when I'm in space. But I'll come home every night and protect her and make her supper. But when I'm flying around in space, Daddy will be with me. Because that's what he's going to do too." Why a babysitter until her daughter is ten, I'm not quite sure.

Jesse loves astronomy and looking at the stars. One of the last nights before school, he took Mia on a "date." They waited until dark (which meant long after her bedtime), took some juice boxes and a blanket, and laid out in the lawn looking at the stars. She can point out Venus and several stars due to the time she spends with her daddy. I think it's awful sweet that she wants to have a career with him doing what he loves best. Unfortunately, I don't think that his degree in Business will get him into space.

If God Disappears by David Sanford is a powerful book about the times when we question God in our lives and how we can seek and find him. Sanford picks nine crises that when they strike can make us wonder what God is doing or if He is even paying attention. Sanford offers several anecdotes about the ways that God has worked for him and people he knows, and sometimes when God hasn't worked, but we still have to trust him anyway. I can't help but admire Sanford's deep faith after growing up with an atheist father who disapproved of his son's decision to follow Jesus. The chapter about betrayal by the church resonated strongest with me. After the deep pain Jesse and I suffered at our previous church, we are healing at our current one. But it isn't perfect, and we still have issues with commitment there. Sanford reminds me that no church is perfect, but God is there, and I need to trust in and wait on that. The most powerful part of the entire book just may be the epilogue. Sanford tells the story of how Jesus got Peter and his brother to follow him; by meeting them, hanging around, and then disappearing so that they had to seek him out. Perhaps that's just what God does on occasion: disappear so that we seek Him out. The book is intelligent with a great deal of heart, the type you want to read over the course of several readings so that you can really take in the message and let it soak into your soul.

Don't forget that today is your last chance to sign up to win a copy of Tricia Goyer's Sweet September. You have until 10 pm to send me an email. Good luck!


David said...

Thanks, Christy!

I think many can identify with your comments about wounds suffered due to non-Christian attitudes, words, and behaviors by "Church." Of course, "Church" has specific meaning(s) for each of us, mostly centered around persons and/or places. Whenever we're wounded in such places and/or by such persons, the wounds are especially deep.

The wounds of "Church" often can overshadow other wounds, however, so I left that chapter for last. As I listen to a person's story, I often hear two or three faith wreckers at work.

I really appreciated your comments about the Epilogue. I'll be glad to send a copy to any blog readers who care to drop me a note. My e-mail address is IfGodDisappears[at]gmail[dot]com.

I had to laugh when I read your line, "I can't help but admire Sanford's deep faith after growing up with an atheist father who disapproved of his son's decision to follow Jesus."

The whole reason I wrote this book is because I experientially lost that faith, quite unexpectedly, 11 years ago after a rapid-fire series of crises, including my oldest daughter being diagnosed with a painful, cancer-like condition.

The problem? I had an incorrect theology of God and an equally incorrect theology of how life works. Sometimes God has to dismantle our "good" faith in order to rebuild a much more vibrant, robust faith in us.

I never want to experientially lose my faith again. That was a terrible experience. But I'm so glad I did. Otherwise, my faith would be good, but not good enough when the trials and temptations of life hit. And hit they do, believe me. I've certainly faced much more difficult trials the past 11 years, including my oldest son's bicycle/SUV accident two years ago.

Bottom line: Through my book, If God Disappears, I want to offer hope and healing, mercy and grace.

Thank you, Christy, for reading my book and writing such a great review. Much appreciated!