But the gentle allure of Jesus – the luminous beauty of his character and the startling defiance of his way – remains my vision, my glorious obsession, perhaps more now than ever before. Jesus really is the hope of the world. How to hear God written by Pete Greig, 2022
Pete Greig and I are exactly on the same page with the view that Jesus is the hope of the world, so I thought that I would introduce his book to my readers.
The Foreword, from John Mark Comer, grabbed my attention immediately with the words ‘If there is a God … then surely learning to hear his voice is at the centre of all that matters in life’.
This is just what the once atheist, CS Lewis, said in Mere Christianity, and it is a powerful argument. ‘Either this man (Jesus) was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. ……. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.
The author illustrates his message throughout the book with the story of Jesus appearing to two of his followers on the road to Emmaus after he had risen from the dead, but they did not recognise him for quite a while. I found this a useful guide to understanding how there are many opportunities missed to journey with Jesus in the course of my day-to-day living.
The book is presented in two parts; in the first part, the author unpacks ways in which Jesus can talk to us directly, through the bible, prayer, and even prophetically through another person. There were many fascinating stories of people’s encounters with God and conversion to Christianity in the first part of the book and an introduction to Lectio Devina’s prayer process, a simple contemplative method of praying.
The second half describes how God also quietly whispers to us in many different aspects of life; in our communities, in the natural creation all around us, and through our different cultures. I like the poetic way the author describes how God whispers to us in our everyday circumstances and suggests that we ‘learn to listen for his voice in the anti-climax of life’s non-events’ rather than the earthquakes, wind, and fire. He accentuates this thought with the last verse of the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind written by John Greenleaf Whittier in 1872
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.
The subtitle of How to hear God is; ‘a simple guide for normal people’ and a perfect sub-description. Because the writing style is very down-to-earth and not at all preachy, the author has a talent for offering simple explanations of complex subjects; his great love for Jesus is infectious.
So going back to the Foreword; this book says a resounding yes!, God’s presence and voice absolutely should be at the centre of all that matters in our lives.
If you have even the slightest belief in the eternal truth of John Mark Comer and CS Lewis’ comments on this standpoint, this book can help develop your relationship with God, wherever you are on your journey of faith.
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind written by John Greenleaf Whittier in 1872 – Sung at Westminster Abbey, Feb 26, 2019