Takeaway: God still speaks. It is our job to listen.
I expect that The Power of a Whisper will get some bad reviews. Many people do not think that God still speaks (either audibly or through nudges). And after reconsidering my (now edited) review from last week of Christian Atheist, I want to be sure I am listening to the content not just evaluating my place in the world in regard to the content.
My reviews are a way for me to process my learning. So I want to, and need to, share what I am getting from a book, as well as give some review as to the content of the book and how it is presented.
I think I am in a place where I need to hear the message of this book. The point of this book is that Hybels wants us to listen for and then act on God’s direction. This is more an action book than a knowledge book. And I think we need more action books (I say this based on the quote I keep hearing lately that “Christians are always educated beyond their obedience.”)
What is helpful for me is the extremely autobiographical nature of this book. Hybels spends the first quarter of the book charting out his early life and how listening to “whispers from God” lead him into the ministry and helped prepare him for the life he has lead.
But he does not stop at autobiography. He moves to stories from people in his church that felt they have heard from God. These are both large and small areas; life and death situations and much smaller nudges. What I get from this section, and I think is important to the whole book, is that God is involved not only in big movements of history, but in the small interactions of life. He cares that people are turned toward him, he cares that our children are safe, he cares that people find jobs or are emotionally (and physically) healed.
I think that more than knowledge, people need to know emotionally that God really cares for them and wants to interact with them. That message is throughout this book.
Hybels moves on to testing the messages we hear from God, how to position ourselves to hear God better, the importance of humility when hearing from others and the importance in hearing from God in larger societal changes.
I don’t think I have read anything else by Hybels so I do not have any books to compare it to. I have met Hybels several times (I was a note taker for a meeting that Hybels participated in quarterly for a couple of years.) I read through about 20 Amazon reviews to get a sense of what others were saying. A couple people complained that because Hybels spent a lot of time speaking autobriographically he was “bragging” or “not being humble”. I think this is an unfortunate criticism. If we cannot hear from respected Christian leaders about how they really itneract with God, then we are cutting off a significant way of deepening our relationship with God. Hybels is not perfect, does not pretend to be perfect and cites many mistakes. But he does claim to be frequently hearing from God. Based on what I know about him, that is a good reason to be listening to him more.
I listened to The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond (Audible.com link) on audiobook. Scott Brick was the narrator. In general I really like authors to read their own books because I get a better sense of passion from them. Scott Brick is a great narrator, but I think a bad choice for this book. Brick is great at building drama, but this is a book that probably would be better if the drama was ratcheting down (not up). I got used to him after a while, but still would have preferred another narrator, maybe Grover Gardner or Lloyd James.