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Where Is God When It Hurts? Mass Market Paperback – February 25, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 362 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'One of the most helpful treatments of the problem of evil that I've ever read...on a level that really speaks to people. If I were looking around for something to give individuals who are going through travail or difficulty, this is the book I'd recommend.' -- Dr. Vernon Grounds

'What a book. A masterpiece. Complete, moving without waxing sentimental. Not the kind of book you'd expect to be unable to put down, but just that.' -- Jerry Jenkins

'I started to read it thinking I was going to read a pleasant little easy-to-read book on the subject of pain; I finished feeling as if I had read a classic. It probes aspects of pain that C. S. Lewis never touches and draws upon the lives of suffering saints from John Donne to Joni Eareckson Tada. But I was most impressed with Philip's honesty and willingness to admit the inadequacy of words to unravel problems that go back to the patriarch Job.' -- William J. Petersen

'I've read everything I can get my hands on about the problems of pain and evil, and this book is the clearest, most practical thing I've read.' -- Keith Miller

'If I expected to find inside a shallow theoretical treatise unworthy of such a profound question, that's not what I found...by the time you get to the end of these chapters your heart is crying out, 'Thank you, God, for pain!'' -- Paul Harvey

'I know firsthand that pain and paralysis sometimes seem to push away the presence of God. To ask 'Where Is God When It Hurts?' is honest, reasonable even. And thank the Lord, Philip puts our questions into perspective, helping us find out exactly where God really is when we hurt.' -- Joni Eareckson Tada

From the Publisher

Many suffering people want to love God, but cannot see past their tears, says Philip Yancey. They feel hurt and betrayed. Sadly, the church often responds with more confusion than comfort. This current edition of what is perhaps Yancey's best-known book should speak to anyone for whom life sometimes just doesn't make sense. And it should help equip anyone who wants to reach out to someone in pain but just doesn't know what to say. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Reissue edition (March 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310214378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310214373
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (362 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I worked for 10 years as an Editor and then Publisher for Campus Life magazine. There I learned journalistic skills (there's no tougher audience than teenagers), but every year it seemed I wrote fewer and fewer words. In 1980 my wife Janet and I moved to downtown Chicago where I began a career as a freelance writer. (She has worked as a social worker and hospice chaplain--which gives me plenty of material to write about!) We lived there until 1992, when we moved to the foothills of Colorado. I've written around 20 books, most of them still in print, thankfully. Three of them I coauthored with Dr. Paul Brand, who influenced me more than any single person. My own favorites are "Soul Survivor" and "Reaching for the Invisible God" because both of them forced me to dig deep and get personal. I'm a pilgrim, still "in recovery" from a bad church upbringing, searching for a faith that makes its followers larger and not smaller. I feel overwhelming gratitude that I can make a living writing about the questions that interest me.

Please visit my website at www.philipyancey.com for more information, essays, events, travel notes, and a blog.

There is also an official Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/PhilipYancey?v=wall

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is not only about how God views our suffering, and how much we struggle with God in the midst of our suffering (although it does thoroughly discuss those things). The most interesting aspects of this book, in my opinion, were the stories and comments that Yancey makes on how Christians, though mostly good-intentioned, often respond to other people's pain in very unhelpful ways. There is an example of a woman who was very ill and then examples of a few different people who came to visit her and how their different approaches affected her. It shows you how to best try and comfort someone in great pain (although of course there isn't one universally right way to do it). One of Yancey's most interesting observations in this book is that the only cards made for sick people are "get well" cards--and how that shows what society's view is on sickness and how often times people are only considered valuable if they are well. Otherwise, they are considered invalids (as he points out, that word suggests that the person is considered "not valid"). This book should be read by everyone experiencing chronic pain, anyone who experiences any kind of pain, and anyone who ever expects to know anyone who experiences pain. Therefore, everyone should read this book, because pain continues to be a significant part of life.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Even if you are not a Christian, and even if you are not facing severe pain, this book is worth reading. It's worth reading because it will give you fascinating insights into the human body. It's worth reading because it will broaden your perspective after reading about people who have faced tremendous pain. And if for no other reason, it's worth reading because Philip Yancey is a great writer. His writing style is pithy, yet never brusque. He skillful balances journalistic fact, personal narrative, and theology in a way that few others can.
If you are struggling with physical or psychological pain, you will find a friend in Yancey. He approaches this topic respectfully, without simplistic answers and tears back a bit of the mystery surrounding the problem of pain in this world. I know I'll never come across a work that can answer all or even most of my questions, but I appreciate an author that will jump in the sticky battle for answers with a sharp eye for truth and a spirit sensitive to God's voice.
The beginning part of this book explores pain from a physical perspective. It touches on time that Yancy spent with Dr. Paul Brand who works with leprosy patients and investigates how pain is useful from a biological perspective. As the book moves on, Yancey's scope widens to address other aspects of pain and suggest some ways that God might be using pain.
However, at no time was I left with that troubling feeling that I sometimes get after someone quotes that verse about God using all things for our good. Yancey allows that it is much more complicated than that, at least from the perspective of this lifetime. Instead Yancey (much like C.S. Lewis) confronts these pat solutions and champions the cause of all of us who struggle to reconcile the seeming paradox of a compassionate God who is Lord over a pain-filled world.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best book on pain and suffering out in the market (even better than C.S. Lewis's THE PROBLEM OF PAIN). Yancey's first chapter title describes our predicament well enough: 'A problem that won't go away'. This problem is as old as mankind, and in some ways, no one will ever write a better outline of this difficulty than can be found in the book of Job. Yancey's book, though, takes a fresh look at pain itself, and while it cannot answer all questions (no book can), it does give a thoughtful discussion that helps us to comprehend the crucial role of pain in our lives. This book is not an abstract speculative treatise, but a practical and helpful companion as we ask why there is such a thing as pain, is pain a message from God, how do people respond to suffering, how can we cope with pain, and how does religious faith help (or hinder). I give this book my highest recommendation.
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Format: Loose Leaf
This is THE most influential book I've ever read dealing with a subject that the religious experts have wrestled with in every age since the dawn of man. How do you deal with pain, suffering, and/or death? Why does God allow it? Why did He invent pain in the first place? These and other related questions are the hardest to answer when our non-christian friends and relatives start asking them, especially when they are suffering a painful devistating illness themselves. I was given this book at 17 years of age by an unknown saint who slipped it into my hospital room when I was going through the difficulties of a kidney transplant. My anger and bitterness toward God would surly have destroyed me had I allowed it to fester by setting this precious book aside. Thank God I didn't. I read it and my faith and love for Christ greatly increased instead of weakening. I have seen too many suffering patients take the angry, bitter road to destruction. Because of my experience with the book, I now give it out to my patients freely when they are faced with devastating pain or life threatening illness(es). I have found this book extremely valuable in opening up a hardened and locked down heart to Christ. The one who suffers can not understand why a loving, merciful creator would allow him or her to go through such suffering, or why He would allow the suffering of a close friend or relative. This book explores the issues head on with an eyes-wide-open approach to why pain exists in the first place and how we should deal with it. It is both scientific and spiritual. In my opinion, no other book short of the Bible has helped my walk with Christ as much!
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