Reaching For The Invisible God

Maybe I just like Yancey’s style of writing but I think it is more than that.  He has written some books that have spoken profoundly to my situation.  This book is one that for me right now was just what I needed to read.  And now I have finished it.  I find myself flipping back to reread some pages where he said just what I needed to hear.

Sometimes I find myself yearning for the glorious self-indulgence of infancy, when the world revolved around me, when a whimper or a cry brought attention, when others met my needs with no effort on my part.  Sometimes I look back, too, on an early stage in my spiritual pilgrimage when God seemed close and faith seemed easy and irrefutable – a stage before testing and disappointment, a stage before weaning.  And then at church or in the supermarket I come across a  baby, helpless, immobile, with little comprehension, and I realize anew the wisdom of creation that presses us on toward maturity, our growth fueled by a diet of solid food, not milk.

While I still bear the scars of growing pains, I am learning to identify and avoid some seductions of childish faith:  unrealistic expectations, legalism, and unhealthy dependance.

Several times I have alluded to the danger of unrealistic expectations.  A child must, at some point, learn to accept the world as it is rather than as he or she wants it to be.  “It’s not fair!”  the foot-stamping lament of a child, mellows into “Life is not fair,”  the wisdom of adulthood.  People vary in beauty, family background, athletic skill, intelligence, health,and wealth, and anyone who expects perfect fairness in this world will end up bitterly disappointed.  Likewise, a Christian who expects God to solve all family problems, heal all diseases, and thwart baldness, graying, wrinkling, presbyopia, osteoporosis, senility and the other effects of aging is pursuing childish magic, not mature religion. (p 215)

The above quote is from Reaching For The Invisible God by Philip Yancey, Zondervan, 2000. 

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  1. What a coincidence … I just started reading this book today, it was lent to me by a good friend at church who thought it would be just what I need to hear right now. And yes, it is dealing with questions I have been struggling with for the past month or so.

  2. Phil L

    I’m reading Yancey’s “Rumours of Another World” and am enjoying it. I’m in the chapter where he discusses pain, and how lepers lose their sight and limbs because they don’t feel pain so they don’t take care of infections. Pain can be a healthy thing. He then goes on to discuss guilt, and the difference between healthy guilt over failing to meet God’s standards vs. unhealthy guilt over failing to meet standards imposed by others or by ourselves (legalism). I haven’t read “Reaching for the Invisible God” but it will be on my to-do list.