A very kind family from school gave me this book at the end of last school year. The title struck me as a little odd… The Insanity of God. I had never heard of Nik Ripken and I certainly didn’t think that God was insane. I politely placed the book on my shelf and moved on with life. I saw the book quite often and thought about picking it up a few times…but never did. Then…one day Bryant Wright, lead pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, tweeted about the missions conference his church was hosting in February and the fact that they would be hosting Nik Ripken. In reading his tweet, I remembered the book on my shelf. I intentionally added it to my reading list. After reading it, I am kicking myself for not having read it earlier.
The Insanity of God is a story of faith, of persecution, of suffering, of resurrection, and most importantly…a story that points to the Jesus and the gospel in a way that I haven’t personally experienced before. Nik and his wife Ruth are Christ followers. I could say that they are pastors, they are missionaries, they are …any number of things, but the most accurate description is simply that they are Christ followers. This book is a small peek into the amazing conversations that they have had with persecuted Christians all around the world. As a believer, I walked away from reading this book very convicted of how un-persecuted I truly am…yet, how little I truly treasure Jesus in the midst of my easy comfortable “Christian” life.
I could hardly put this book down. The Ripkens are gracious to share both their triumps, defeats, happiness, and deep despair all with the purpose of pointing the reader to Christ alone. I’ve listed below a few things that I highlighted while reading. I didn’t highlight as much as I normally do…I really wanted to just read and soak it in..in hopes that my heart will be forever changed for the glory of God and the good of others.
- “Be faithful, even to the point of death.” Revelation 2:10
- Instead of developing a curriculum, we were being taught by believers in persecution how to follow Jesus, how to love Jesus, and how to walk with Him day by day.
- Gradually, as my pilgrimage through persecution progressed, I began to understand that God is not helpless without us. Even though He wants our help, values our help, and calls fro our help in changing the world, our all-powerful God is not helpless—even without us.
I also came to understand that our all-knowing God is completely aware of all that is happening in His world—even in places where evil seems to be running rampant. Even in these dark places, our ever-present God is not somehow absent until we show up ready to help.
It is crucial to understand that God values our help. But it is even more crucial to remember that our all-powerful God is able to work with our without us, that our all-knowing God is not blind to the evil in His world, and that our ever-present God is there…whether we are or not.
- Once we find out what God is already doing to show Himself, all we have to do is point others to Him.
- Nothing is more gratifying for us than taking the examples, the stories, and the experiences of one group of believers in persecution and sharing their spiritual wisdom with another group of oppressed Jesus-followers in a different place.
- At the beginning of every day, we choose. It is simply a matter of identification. Will we identify with believers in persecution—or will we identify with their persecutors? We make that choice as we decide whether we will share Jesus with others or keep Him to ourselves.
- “Don’t you ever give up in freedom what we would never give up in persecution—and that is our witness to the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!” -Stoyan