Finding God in Unexpected Places. Philip Yancey. [book]


Figured I’d ease back into blogging with a book review or two.  My aim this year has been to read 52 books over the course of the year.  I’ve slightly lost track (as with so many resolutions) but I know I need to pick the pace up a little (or choose shorter, easier books!).

This book, however, is eminently readable.  It’s a collection of writings, rather than a book in the sense we might normally understand it.  Having been first published in 1995, it strikes me that it was pretty avant-garde, in that it is basically the book equivalent of a blog.  The edition I read was a 2002 version, with updates including chapters related to the attack on the Twin Towers.  There are 49 ‘chapters’, spread across 276 pages.  This makes it very easy indeed to pick up and read a chunk.  I guess the downside to this is that you can breeze through a number of chapters without really grappling with the contents.

The premise of the book is beautiful.  It is, as the title suggests, that God can be found in the most unexpected of places, if only we look.  In the introduction, Yancey quotes a lady who had started to work in a violent South African prison (the one where Mandela had spent some time!).  She says, “… God was already present in the prison.  I just had to make him visible”.  The book goes on to consider a wide range of places in which God can be found, under the headings:
“Finding God without really looking”
“Finding God on the Job”
“Finding God in the rubble”
“Finding God in a fractured society”
“Finding God among the Headlines”
“Finding God in the cracks”
“Finding God within the church”

The result is a collection of thoughts that are at times amusing, at times heart-warming, at times tear-jerking, and much more.  Some of his stories of letters he’s received (in the chapter “Letter Bombs”) are laugh-out-loud.  There are stories of hope in struggle, light in darkness, and the common thread is the one of finding God in all these places.  As he says more than once, “God goes where He is wanted”.  Read the book, discover where God can be found, and then look for Him in those unexpected places in your own life.

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