Cover Image: Forgiving God

Forgiving God

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Member Reviews

This is a difficult but lovely story, best for anyone struggling with their current circumstances and wanting to know they aren't alone. The author has been through a great deal and come out the other side with grace and wisdom, all of which is detailed in these pages. I definitely recommend this.
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When Mrs. Yancey was 3 months pregnant with her first child, he was diagnosed with several physical disabilities.  She and her husband, as well as, many of their family members and friends prayed for a miraculous healing.  She tells of the days in the NICU and the trips to the ER, all of this while working on her PhD in Philosophy.  Yancey is very honest in the wrestling of her faith.

Recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with Christianity collections.  Fellow parents could also benefit from reading this book after an unexpected diagnosis.
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Yancey is first and foremost a wonderful writer. I was already familiar with her birthing story from social media, but I appreciated reading the details in long form. When her firstborn Jackson experiences life-threatening medical issues, Yancey's faith was challenged. Prayers didn't give them the miracle they thought they'd receive. The way she tells this story helps readers understand that sometimes bad news doesn't ruin us, but helps us reframe the way we see everything, including God.
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I really enjoyed this book. Well worth your time to read it. I believe that God does answer prayers but it is in His own time and not ours.
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We love to read stories about when someone pleads with God and He comes through with some amazing deed. But what about when God doesn't do something wonderful to fix the situation?

That's what happened to the Yanceys. The excitement of pregnancy was tempered with the news that the child would be deformed: a cleft palate, missing an eye and an ear. Hilary shares with us her experiences and her struggles.

This is a book of raw emotions. Hilary writes in an almost poetic way about her anger at God, being mad at His promises, pleading, begging. She shares her deep feelings of God robbing her of what she most wanted and of developing a faith seasoned with suffering, doubt and anger. She combines her own thoughts with her study of philosophy, developing a theology of disabilities with the ideas of God's providence and provision.

This is an emotional book. At times I was overwhelmed with Hilary's honest account of her pain and suffering. It made me think about how I would maintain my faith in the face of similar struggles. 

I do recommend this book to those who are struggling with their faith as they face struggles and suffering. Hilary helps readers work through concepts like God's sovereignty and man's freedom as they related to her own experiences. There are lots of details in the book to the point I thought it too much information. Nonetheless, her writing style helps make a very difficult subject easier to read.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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I know Hilary Yancey didn't write Forgiving God: A Story of Faith just for me.  But there were plenty of times while I was reading it that I felt like she did.  Her story is different from mine, different from most of our stories, but as she writes about her pregnancy and early days with a baby who has multiple, complex medical problems, I felt like I was walking with her through the experience.

Like any parents, Yancey and her husband thrilled at the news of their pregnancy, and planned accordingly with all the typical preparations.  But when Yancey got the call that their ultrasound showed some abnormalities, that little Jackson had a cleft palate and other problems, expectations and preparations went out the window.

Yancey writes about her pregnancy and her dealing with Jackson's disabilities with brutal honesty.  As reality set in that Jesus had not chosen to heal him fully, and that he'd be living with disabilities, her pastor friend asked her, "What do you want to say to Jesus right now?"  Yancey replied, "I hate you for doing this to us."  She continued to hope that Jesus would assure her that he would sustain Jackson, yet they struggled day-to-day with keeping him alive, breathing through his trach.  

Her faith in God was restored--"died and resurrected too much to measure"--as she developed her thinking about disability itself.  Her reflections challenge and encourage parents of children with disabilities.  She concludes, "Different is not worse.  Abnormal, outside the norm, is not worse."  While our children's disabilities may seem to a stranger to be their defining characteristic, to parents disability is simply one of many things that define a child.  Further, his or her disabilities contribute to shaping their characters and personalities, so that were it removed, the child would not be the same person.  She writes that "Jack's life is not made worse by him having craniofacial microsomia."  Different, but not worse.

Yancey's narrative is moving and personal, but reaches wider than her own story.  She inspired me to appreciate and love my children more deeply.  While I may pray for my children to be healed and relieved of the hardships that accompany their disabilities, I recognize that my children are inseparable from their disabilities.  And despite the "hero" label that parents of children with disabilities often receive, I agree with Yancey: "I didn't want to be a hero, because Jack's being alive was not an extra burden that Preston and I were heroically bearing.  His live was not our challenge, our sorrow."

My children are my joy.  As Yancey is entering the journey of raising a child with disabilities, she reminds the rest of us, wherever we are on the journey, of the treasure and pleasure of our children, and of the goodness and faithfulness of God.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
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