If God Disappears, by David Sanford

if-god-disappearsThere are a myriad of things in life that leave us feeling abandoned by God.  David Sanford, in a down-to-earth, easy to read style, discusses nine common faith wreckers. 

It is true, there have been numerous times in my life when I’ve wondered if God finally got fed up not only with me, but this whole planet and just took a hike.  Worse, at times God seems more than merely absent.  On occasion I’ve wondered if he was ever really present.

David doesn’t plow new ground in this book.  There isn’t anything said that hasn’t been written about many times before, and sometimes even more eloquently.  In fact, I often wished he had been more explicit in the things he was saying.  While he tells wonderfully moving stories he doesn’t always move deep enough into the points he is trying to make – maybe intentionally, though, to prompt the reader to fill in the blanks with his/her own experience.  Paradoxically, it was this lack of clarity in each chapter that forced me to think more about what was being said, rather than to have it all spoon fed to me.

Wrestling through David’s thoughts I could identify points in my life where each of the nine faith wreckers had blinded me to the presence of God.  Some times the evil I’ve seen has made me question the omnipotence Lover of our Souls.  At other times I’ve allowed my cultural values to instigate a reckless, individualistic approach to life.   Like most people, I’ve interpreted God’s will in my own favor – preferring my own notions to his.  There have been a few incidents where I justified my anger without any desire to consider grace.  Some times I’ve just taken a sabbatical from God because he didn’t do as I wanted him to do.  I have also spent inordinate amounts of time ‘safely’ learning about God without wanting to ‘know’ him.  There have been circumstances where I have wondered, ‘why me’, and lived for days in self-pity without being willing to trust that God was always at work on my behalf.  I could immediately identify with granting myself exceptional permissions to live as I pleased. Finally, I can’t even begin to enumerate the number of times I’ve been slammed by the ‘church’ and tempted just to call it quits.

The author not only helps the reader to honestly identify pitfalls to faith, he also makes gentle suggestions that help us to escape the inclinations to abandon God.  Yes, God never disappears.  We simply determine to pursue a course in life where we cease to acknowledge his presence.  It would be worthwhile for all believers to take this inventory of faith and own up to the truth so that we don’t slide entirely into living as functional atheists.

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One Response to “If God Disappears, by David Sanford”

  1. Out of the scores of IF GOD DISAPPEARS reviews, yours is still one of my favorites. As you may have heard, USA Today just launched a “Faith and Reason” book club blog. You can read all about it, including submission requirements, at http://content.usatoday.com/communities/religion/post/2009/05/67295819/1. Book reviews can be submitted directly to frreaders@usatoday.com, which publishes a 150-word review each Friday. Would you be willing to send a 150-word review of my If God Disappears book to USA Today sometime in the next week?

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