The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected
Authors: Nik Ripken and Gregg Lewis
Forward Author: David Platt
Category: Religion & Spirituality, Missions & Evangelism
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Release Date: December 2, 2013
My Rating: 5 stars
The Insanity of God is the personal and lifelong journey of an ordinary couple from rural Kentucky who thought they were going on just your ordinary missionary pilgrimage, but discovered it would be anything but. After spending over six hard years doing relief work in Somalia, and experiencing life where it looked like God had turned away completely and He was clueless about the tragedies of life, the couple had a crisis of faith and left Africa asking God, “Does the gospel work anywhere when it is really a hard place? It sure didn’t work in Somalia.
Nik recalls that, “God had always been so real to me, to Ruth, and to our boys. But was He enough, for the utter weariness of soul I experienced at that time, in that place, under those circumstances?” It is a question that many have asked and one that, if answered, can lead us to a whole new world of faith.
How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can Good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world’s toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?
The Insanity of God tells a story—a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story—of the Ripkens’ own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.
Nik Ripkin truly experienced what believers know intellectually but often do not understand experientially. He saw God leading in unexpected ways in places where he thought Christianity could not possibly thrive. Dr. Ripken did not always go on these dangerous journeys willingly or easily; but he did submit in obedience. That obedience led he and his wife on a journey that lasted more than fifteen years; a journey that showed them God and His salvation in ways they never would have expected.
I have been putting off the writing of this review for quite some time. Many notes were jotted down in preparation. After referring back to them a number of times I failed at writing one. I now understand that I just cannot give The Insanity of God the justice it deserves. The best thing that I can do is leave you with a couple of quotes from the book and strongly urge all believers to pick it up and spend some prayerful time experiencing the justice, might, power, and glory of God.
“You don’t have to come back. You just have to go.”
“Persecution is the crucible of faith.”
“Despite decades of extreme hardship, Stoyan’s stories were joyful and hopeful. He was convinced that people flocked to Christ in greater numbers during difficult days of persecution because that’s when they could recognize how God sustains and strengthens His followers through times of trouble. He said that he had learned that family is the believer’s greatest reservoir of faith and resistance in the face of persecution. And he explained that, surprisingly, freedom had brought a new set of challenges that had blurred spiritual battle lines.”
“Don’t ever give up in freedom what we would never have given up in persecution! That is our witness to the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!”
“Multitudes of people were eager to bear witness to a faith that had not only survived persecution, but had thrived because of it.”
“What I learned during my time in Somalia… was that I never wanted my words, my actions, or my work to be the cause of anyone’s suffering. Being persecuted for my sake is NOT the same as being persecuted for Jesus’ sake. Causing suffering for my sake, especially if that suffering is the result of a thoughtless, uninformed, or downright stupid decision or action on my part, would be sad and unnecessary. It would be wrong. It might even be a sin.”
”Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
Go, serve, and do so with wisdom from your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.