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Thomas Nelson Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times

Why does God allow us to experience difficulties? And how is he active during our hard times? Townsend observes that it's the "unfixability" of our problems and our own inability to solve them that keeps us seeking God; then offers powerful stories and practical applications that assure us of God's transforming presence in our daily lives. 240 pages, hardcover from Nelson.
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Customer Reviews for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Review 1 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Good start for those in difficult times

Date:June 30, 2011
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mom2jc
Age:35-44
Life does not come without difficult times, times that often have us wondering what is the purpose of our suffering and exactly where is God in all of it? Often times, the very question of "Where is God in all this?" is a stumbling block for Christians and non-Christians alike.
In Where is God? by Dr. John Townsend, best-selling author of Boundaries, the very question of the title is addressed.
Townsend explores this topic through personal stories, logical reflection, and scriptures. The 14 chapters cover such things as "Freedom in the Service of Love", "A Hope More Than Wishing", and "The God of Faith When There Are No Answers".
Dr. Townsend is a Christian physiologist, which I felt was heavily reflected in his approach on answering this question. In summary, the book seemed to be more of a process for the reader, rather than direct answers that some might be expecting. Townsend does give the reader the insight that it is ok to question and be honest with God, while still having the trust that he has not left you and your situation has a purpose greater than you can perceive. The reader is encouraged to continually seek God in all circumstances and feelings.
I personally found the book a very slow read and not very enlightening, though perhaps a thorough discussion for someone that is struggling with this question and needing some direction on being able to approach his or her difficult times.
Disclaimer: I received this title at no charge from Thomas Nelson Inc. in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 2 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:September 13, 2010
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Joe Rollins
Much like his best-selling book Boundaries, I found this book to be a great tool to have in my library as well. This book also hit close to the heart because of the fact that I've been asking this question a lot lately myself with the illness of my daughter and her battle with Infantile Spasms.This book begs us to really consider something a lot of us have already considered at least once already. It draws us to take a look into the question of where God is from a different point of view instead of just seeing it through one way. Dr. Townsend does a great job in explaining how we can have full faith in God and yet at the same time still ask where he is. This book helped me a great deal personally and spiritually. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is facing a difficult situation or just simply begging the age old question of Where Is God?
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Review 3 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:September 10, 2010
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Karin Fendick
In these days of uncertainty many are questioning what God is up to, where is He in all the trouble we see around us? In Where is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times by Dr. John Townsend explores that very issue. Relying on Scripture and years of counseling experience Dr. Townsend relates stories that prove that God is always true to His own nature.I found great encouragement as I read story after story of how God might not have showed up as expected but always in control was able to work all thing to good for His purposes as Romans 8:28 promises. I was moved to draw ever closer to the One Who knows all things, sees all things and only wants the very best for His children. As Townsend writes:When we develop the stance of expecting Gods goodness, we become more intimate with Him. Basically the more I understand His goodness, the more I want to be in a relationship with Him. The more relationship I have, the more goodness I experience in other words, with God, more is better.This book may just send people searching to find more of God and I believe that is exactly what He Himself desires.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Review 4 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:September 10, 2010
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Karin Fendick
In these days of uncertainty many are questioning what God is up to, where is He in all the trouble we see around us? In Where is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times by Dr. John Townsend explores that very issue. Relying on Scripture and years of counseling experience Dr. Townsend relates stories that prove that God is always true to His own nature.I found great encouragement as I read story after story of how God might not have showed up as expected but always in control was able to work all thing to good for His purposes as Romans 8:28 promises. I was moved to draw ever closer to the One Who knows all things, sees all things and only wants the very best for His children. As Townsend writes:When we develop the stance of expecting Gods goodness, we become more intimate with Him. Basically the more I understand His goodness, the more I want to be in a relationship with Him. The more relationship I have, the more goodness I experience in other words, with God, more is better.This book may just send people searching to find more of God and I believe that is exactly what He Himself desires.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Review 5 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:August 22, 2010
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Leanne Golan
Co-author of the best-selling book Boundaries, Dr. John Townsend recently authored an interesting book entitled, Where Is God? I was given this book to review by Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of the Booksneeze Bloggers Club and was excited to read it. Inside, the book contains numerous thoughts John himself has had about Gods presence or seeming lack thereof in times of crisis. He starts off by sharing his experience climbing a glacier in the Antarctic when a shifting wind changes their plans. Just as in life, when the winds change, our underlying thoughts and beliefs become evident.Early on in the book, John introduces the angry God, the unpleasable God and other misnomers that keep us at a distance because of our childhood experiences, helping the reader to break through these man-made barriers.Throughout the book, John covers a range of responses to trials and difficulties, both from our point of view and from Gods, but he brings clarity by asking the hard questions and offering steps to grow in faith, while presenting a clear picture of not only who God is but where He is in the midst of our crisis. Where is God is brutally honest, Scripturally sound and injected with the hope that God not is not only there, He is there for you.
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Review 6 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:May 30, 2010
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Joshua Wolfe
In the face of the many troubles people face, many people are asking, "Where is God in this?" It seems to be our typical human reaction. Dr. John Townsend, in his book, "Where is God?", addresses this question, and assures his readers that God doesn't leave us.Overall, the premise of the book is good. His last chapter has some very practical suggestions that are helpful in dealing with problems in life. GOd is faithful, and is in control during our hard times. Dr. Townsend doesn't deny that even when we follow God, there will be troubles, sometimes to show His glory (Like Job).However, I had several concerns. In the beginning of the book, as he set up his thoughts and points, one of his points which had an emphasis all throughout the book is that God is for you. The way he treats this all throughout the book seems to slightly diminish God. Yes, God is in control all the time, but He isn't about our good. He is about His glory. That is why we were made, why we exist, why we were saved, and why we go through hard times: Because it is all for His glory. Saying that God is for me ultimately makes for a very humanistic theology, in which the end of all is our happiness. Instead, the end of all is God and His glory. So this was a concern. I was also sort of put off by his whole approach in writing the book. It seemed to be more of a psychological discourse than a study into God and His purposes in troubles. Much of modern psychology is rooted in humanist thinking and I suspect that this had an influence in this book
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Review 7 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:May 2, 2010
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Fran Trascritti
When I first received this book by Dr. John Townsend, I have to admit that I wasnt too terribly excited. Although I have heard of Townsend, I was still not quite sure what Townsends approach would be as he dealt with a question often asked by many, Where is God? For example, was I in store to read nothing but Freudian psychology baptized with Scripture? Townsend tackles the hard issues in this book. He is brutally honest and open about sin as the cause of some issues and recounts his own life and experiences of those who he has ministered to in the past. He is extremely biblical. As he travels from chapter to chapter, however, I began to find that Townsend was not attempting to provide solutions, only observations about struggles and sin. That is, until I read chapter nine.Chapter nine is probably the best one in the book and the turning point for me. This chapter, The God Who Transforms You, brings biblical insight and wisdom to the forefront. During trials, Townsend writes, one is to do the opposite of what may feel right: run to God and His Word. Build your character in Christ, Townsend rightly claims, and you may be more equipped to deal with the difficulties of life. Even more, Townsend continues from this chapter with the same sort of biblical advice for the various issues he identifies. He offers Scripture, application, and real life examples. Finally, Townsend concludes the book with a practical wrap-up of sorts to help the reader apply all of the material to his or her life. Though it is a bit short in content, the chapter is helpful and useful for the reader. All in all, this is a good read. I highly recommend this book to those wanting to learn and understand more about their own struggles and how they may turn it over to God.
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Review 8 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 23, 2010
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Jamie Booth
Hope. Not everyone has it, but that is why this book is so important. Dr. Townsends main goal in writing Where is God? is that people would walk away with an increased sense of hope, and if you read this book you will.Although the question of if God is real, why is this happening to me? has been asked by millions of people, it is a question we still struggle to answer. In Where is God? a clear Biblical response to this question is given. Anyone who is going through a difficult time, or is counseling someone going through a difficult time, would find this book to be a valuable resource.Pastors especially will find this book helpful. I discovered some new ideas for counseling, and illustrations for preaching while reading the book.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
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Review 9 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 19, 2010
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James Whittaker
This book takes you quietly through an understanding of those times of disappointment, discouragement, and even defeat. Most important it helps to reexamine our view of God.
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Review 10 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:March 17, 2010
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Ioana
Over the years I have read many a book that have been talking about God and hard times and Gods purpose and His will for my life when I go through difficult times. But this book, right from the very beginning caught my attention.It is obvious right from the introduction that the author knows what he is talking about. His psychology knowledge helps a lot and I like the fact that he talks so natural and is so authentic. He makes you feel like this book was written just for you, of all people, just for you. A new side of Gods view on our life when we go through hard times and His purpose for our life when we think there is no hope left. Highly recommended!
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Review 11 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:March 16, 2010
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Darrell
Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a review copy of Where is God by Dr. John Townsend. Townsend is a leadership coach, psychologist, and author. He is currently a visiting professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from North Carolina State University, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Biola University.In his book, Where is God, Dr. John Townsend deals with the questions many of us experience during times of trial and tribulation. He presents practical advice to help us move through these difficult times. Townsend does a great job reminding the reader about the heart of God. God is not vacant in trials. He is working through them to accomplish good in our lives. Furthermore, the author does a nice job showing some of the more practical ways God helps us through trials. For instance, not only does He identify with us (chapter seven), but He also brings others into our lives to help us (chapter nine). He also brings a psychologists touch to some of our sufferings. His chapter on Why Ask Why? seems to be really grounded in the reality that a good counselor can offer. Townsends background in psychology and theology leads to him to offer advice that is both biblical and practical. Ive read several books on trials and suffering of late, and this is definitely one worth picking up and reading.
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Review 12 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:March 4, 2010
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Loni
I am reviewing "Where is God" by Dr. John Townsend for Thomas Nelson free of charge and without compensation. I am allowed to keep this book if I choose.I offer my humble thoughts concerning this book.The three themes are: God is for you, your experience matters, and the Bible is our source for understanding Gods ways in hard times. These are interwoven though different "stories" concerning the questions we are all asked, especially during "hard" times...We all have hard times, and this book delves into this subject... specifically Where is God in these times...This is a good place to starts, but what our response to these hard times is the first step...When we come to the end of ourselves, and start asking this question, it may seem He is far away... but the truth is He is never far away... we may be far away, but He never is... Still we must reach the end of ourselves before we will turn to Him... This book tries to answer the questions "Why does a loving God allow you to experience difficulties? How is God active in your hard times? How can you locate Him in these rough circumstances?"I can appreciate the fact that Townsend tries to relay the importance of seeking Him. He writes: "Now is the time to seek God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength..." However, I also think it is important to stress that our "questions" specifically in hard times come from a lack of relationship with Him, and a true understanding of Who His is... I think our safest way to know "Where is God" is to dig into His Word, and find He has always been there, it is about our distance, not His :DThis book if anything, challenged me to find out for myself (through the Scriptures) Who and Where... instead of using any other book, and not just in hard times, but all times.
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Review 13 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:February 24, 2010
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Dr. James Scott, Jr.
One of the most asked questions, directly from the human heart and searching mind, is the question, "Where is God?"If you haven't personally asked that question, you have probably thought it, and likely know others who have done both. Ministers, theologians, philosophers and others have wrestled with an answer, but one of the best responses I've read to date is found in Dr. John Townsend's latest book, "Where Is God?" published by Thomas Nelson (the publisher provided me with a complementary copy of the book for this review).The reason I found Dr. Townsend's book to be so noteworthy is because he provides a very thorough response to a simple, yet profound question. The short answer to "Where is God?" is that God is always present. But there's significantly more to the answer than that, and Dr. Townsend provides the detail.What gives the book value is Dr. Townsend, who is a Christian psychologist, allows his theology to inform his psychology, rather than vice versa. Townsend provides clear biblical direction to finding answers to this age old question while also using his expertise and experience as a psychologist to help us understand how to work out biblical teaching in practical ways that provide real answers --- and results --- to those searching out the question of "where is God?"Dr. Townsend helps the reader understand how, in the midst of life's most pressing issues, we can seek and see God when He seems to be absent. Townsend explains that "God doesn't play hide-and seek." It is possible to work through the confusion, pain, disillusionment, or other such human experiences during life's trials to not only see God, but to experience His presence in a way that brings peace, renews purpose, and sustains us in our darkest hour.
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Review 14 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:February 19, 2010
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Jennifer Aspacio
Where is God? is the default question man asks in times of adversity, whether rhetorical or honest manner. While it is almost a given that people suffer the consequences of their actions, there are also people who had no hand in their circumstances at all. Inasmuch as we would have the problems in our lives analyzed in percentages, as Dr. John Townsend explained in Chapter 3 Pie Chart (e.g. lets say you get laid off from your job. The problem may be 10 percent your doing, 30 percent others fault and 60 percent due to the world), we can actually go beyond the Where is God? question and come to understanding, then take action from there.Dr. John Townsends Where is God? is a life changing book another to my list of favorites. It was thoroughly interesting how Dr. Townsend was able to biblically address our innermost longing to know where God is when we are in the midst of lifes most difficult challenges. The book challenges us to get into our heart of hearts during adversities which is hands down the most vulnerable moments in our lives. Essentially tells us how we can actually get into a place where we can find the reasons for our struggle and why we ask the Where is God? question and brings us back to the fact that God is for us, regardless of our circumstance: how much we hurt and all the array of emotions that can rather get the best of us when we are engaged in adversities. I just love how Townsend was able to articulate the intimacies and dynamics of the human heart and uses his personal experiences to get his message across. This particularly appeals to me amongst other manners of teaching always. Whether it be by the person behind the pulpit or the person writing the book.
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Review 15 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:February 16, 2010
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Christy Cross
Where is God? by Dr. John Townsend asks and attempts to answer an age-old question. Since the beginning of time people have asked this question and others like it. Why do bad things happen to good people? How could God allow this? Why me? Why now? Where is God? Times have changed, but trials and hardships are always present in our lives or the lives of those around us. Sometimes, even the most "faith-full" Christian can not help but ask, "Why?"I dove into this book, ready for some eye-opening revelations to the above referenced questions. I truly wish I could say that I found what I was looking for. Don't get me wrong, I know that no one really has the answers to these questions and there was definitely good insight in the book, but overall I felt that it was very wordy and repetitious. I am an avid reader and it was hard for me to go back and pick this book up. It just didn't hold my attention and I felt like I was reading the same things over and over.I give this book a 3 /5. It was just "okay" in my opinion. I admire Dr. Townsend's success as an author, psychologist,christian speaker and leadership coach and only wish I had liked the book more.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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Review 16 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:February 13, 2010
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Cindy Chan
Dr. John Townsend had written a concise copy of book assuring the reader where God is when we are in difficult times and this is a book one must grab when in doubts and struggling with the big question of "WHERE IS GOD?". Besides being assuring of His holy presence in our lives even when we see Him not, feel Him not, this book also breaks down God's characteristics so that we can understand Him better, and love Him more.Like all his other books, Dr. John Townsend had written the book with an objective point of view of a God-believing psychologist. I enjoyed the "as-a-matter-of-fact" way of presentation which kept me returning to the book chapter after chapter. It helped to comfort my weary heart as I was in the darkness due to some internal struggle with hope. This struggle led me start doubting the God who loves me, and this book steered my way back to God as I start seeing the Light of Christ as I continued reading. There are recommendations of what we can do in the dark as we seek the Lord. And I truly learned that God is with me when I am facing difficulties and struggles in life.In this modern world where people are struggling with individualism and materialism, this book brought us back to the understanding of having safe and loving community to support and encourage one another. I experience it myself the importance of having safe relationships which I can fall back on when things become difficult and God seems so distant. He is there, only our minds are bogged down and blinded. Thus we need people to affirm us of His presence.Disclaimer: I received this complementary book courtesy of Thomas Nelson.
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Review 17 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:January 27, 2010
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Dave
Who among us has not felt abandoned and alone in difficult times? In his book, Where is God?, psychiatrist Dr. John Townsend not only addresses the "why" of why we ask this question, He also gives answers laden with Biblical truths and sound advice. He begins by explaining the that it is perfectly human to ask Where God is in the midst of trials, but that the asking of that question should prompt us to seek God for answers. He outlines for the reader correct views of God and incorrect ones as well as healthy and unhealthy approaches to dealing with tragedy and loss. The bulk of the second half of the book is dedicated to demonstrating God's presence, empathy and participation in our times of deepest pain. Dr. Townsend uses great real-to-life stories as well as Biblical examples to illustrate his teaching and advice.As a minister who has spent many hours counseling the bereaved and grief-stricken, I found this book not only emotionally encouraging, but filled with practical "do's" and "don'ts" concerning coping and recovery. A must read for anyone who has found themselves asking, "Where is God?" or anyone who is on the front lines of helping people find God in the midst of a broken and hurting world.
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Review 18 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:January 24, 2010
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Dawn Huffmaster
Dr. Townsend came across in a very gentle way to those seeking the answers to those questions by offering stories of comfort and encouragement, and letting readers know they were not alone in their feelings. After reading this book, I only found myself disappointed in one critical aspect. While there are many scriptures referenced, they are included in the text in a conversational way. Due to the subject matter of the book, I expected the text to expound more on the scriptures themselves. Overall, I feel this book would make a great starting point to those who have lost their way during difficulty and need direction to get back on the right track to having a closer relationship with God. As I was reading, I felt it gave the same direction I would hope to receive from a trusted Christian friend, and for that I would recommend this book to others.
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Review 19 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 20, 2010
This book that will make you think and perhaps re-evaluate your motives on your relationship with God. I know he asked some questions I hadnt really thought of before. It is to encourage you, and give you hope in this life that is not always rosy.Does it totally answer the question, Where is God?; yes and no. I am not sure anyone can totally answer that question to the fullest, but it gives you more than enough information to look forward and start finding him in your life so that you can work on your relationship with him thus answering the question and letting you know that hes been with you all along. Whether you are a seasoned Christian or someone who is just searching God out, you will find this book has a lot to offer.Thanks to my friends at booksneeze.com for providing me with a review copy
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Review 20 for Where Is God? Finding His Presence, Purpose, and Power in Difficult Times
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:January 20, 2010
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The Short Pencil
The "Introduction" to "Where Is God?" is a must-read in order to understand not only the book cover artwork but also because Dr. Townsend references the introduction throughout the book. Although the intro was captivating, the book was filled with vanilla generalizations and filler content. I disagreed with Dr. Townsend from pg 4 when he wrote: "He (God) seeks us out. In fact, before we ever asked, "Where is God?" He first asked the same question of us: "Then the Lord called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9 NKJV) He is the real seeker, not us." Surely Dr. Townsend realizes that God did not ask of Adam `where are you' because God did not know the whereabouts of Adam! God is all-knowing! God asked the question simply to get Adam's attention and to let Adam know that He sees all. The burden is not on God to find us, but rather we are to seek God (Isaiah 55:6), so I consider this a misused reference. The Amazon search statistic he cited (page 11) could not be substantiated, there is a typo on page 63, and some of the illustrations seem a bit contrived as the author attempted to explain several thoughts in the book using incidents from his book-writing trip to Antarctica. No wonder I didn't find an answer to "Where is God?" - the author himself admits late in the book "the purpose of this book doesn't allow for an in-depth answer to the problem". The book is not written for the non-Christian. For the Christian,the book offers the expected answers on what God might possibly be teaching us through trials - some we may understand here on earth and some we may never understand, the importance of a network of friends, and the importance of devotional time. Nothing is new information and the meat is not served until about Chapter 10. A more descriptive title could have been "A Christian's Perspective of Hard Times".
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