“God hides,” Kriz writes. “It is just a reality.”
The event that precipitated Kriz writing this book was the illness of his nephew. He wanted God to be very much present for his nephew in the time of intense need. Kriz began to journey through his own encounters with God and seasons of silence. This book is the result.
Kriz finds value in stories. “They are the foundation of our beliefs.” This book follows the pattern of narrative spiritual formation, exploring God memories and telling stories as it relates to belief. Kriz specifically looks at his own experiences around the question of God's presence.
Through his own experiences, Kriz explores the character of God, as a being with a will, emotions, as a communicator, as aloof. Included are stories of his seeking that illusive “something” he felt missing in his Christian experience. He was so frustrated he decided to believe no longer. Then he went to college and became an avid Jesus follower, finding that God spoke to him through others. He continues with missionary experiences, his God encounters and his spiritual meltdowns with refreshing honesty. He explores what on our end keeps us from communicating with God.
Kriz has concentrated his writings on the times we so badly want God to be present in a way we can sense, desiring His comfort, His strength, His comforting hand, yet feeling that God remains silent. He ends his book, “For now, I am still left with my questions, doubts, and confusions.”
The concept of narrative spiritual formation is new to me. I come from an older generation of believers who considered our experiences, our stories, to be rather irrelevant when compared to what God has said in His Word. I have always felt that the mystery of God's promise to be near and my lack of sensing that nearness is a problem on my end, not God's.
Younger believers who find major significance in their spiritual experiences may appreciate this book more than I did. They might find Kriz's honesty in relating his spiritual experiences a springboard to investigating their own.
Tony Kriz is the Author in Residence at Warner Pacific College, where he also teaches on topics like authentic faith and spiritual formation. You can follow his blog at www.tonykriz.com.
Thomas Nelson, 256 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.