Title: The Insanity of God
Author: Nik Ripken
Major Themes: Faith, Persecuted Church
Synopsis: After suffering terrible losses on the mission field, Nik Ripken wonders if it’s really worth the cost to be a Christian.
Some books challenge you to the core, while inspiring you for months afterward, too. For me, The Insanity of God was one of those few. Though it started out with a bang, it continued with some very serious discoveries and ponderings, and I was left breathless—both at what God has done, and at just how much I have to learn yet about what God desires to see from His people, and from me.
Nik Ripken and his wife were missionaries in South Africa for several years before they discovered what a massive tragedy was being acted out in Somalia. Through different contacts and some personal experience, Nik was shocked at how many people were dying at the hands of their own countrymen, either by bombs planted throughout different cities, or starvation due to years of drought and little chance to get help in from other countries. Knowing he must do something about it, Nik set up a relief network where they fed people—but even that was risky business, and he soon realized that although he might be safe enough, the Christians in Somalia were not.
After seeing four Somali Christian friends die because of their faith and relationships with him, Nik was left spinning. Was his faith really enough to make it worth the cost of giving up everything in this life, and even life itself, for the name of Christ? This set him onto a search for the truth—going to places like China, the former Soviet Union, and other places where Christians suffered for their faith. There, interviewing many different people, Nik came to a realization of the deeper, richer truth of what real Christianity is, and that changed his life.
In some ways, I don’t know how to put my perspective of The Insanity of God into words. It was such a blessing in my life, but also a deep challenge.
One of the most challenging aspects was seeing where Christians in persecuted countries placed their emphasis. It was not on material things, or on family, or wealth, or doctrine—it was on Christ. What He had done for them, and what they could do in response for Him. That was it. There were no two ways about it—they were all for Christ, they loved Him with everything, and they were willing to give everything so they could show their love for Him. What a challenge! When I look at my life, where I put my emphasis—on being on everyone’s good side, or getting along with everyone, or making sure I remember to balance my prayer life, Bible time, and daily life, or whatever other non-eternal thing it could be—I have so much to learn in this area. And I’m sure the Christians in persecuted countries say the same thing—but they have more of an emphasis on Christ, and much, much less on themselves, and that’s what makes the difference.
I highly recommend this book if you would like a new perspective on the Christian life, or want to serve the Lord more, or want to know what the Lord has done with other Christians’ lives around the world.
WARNING: This is not a book for children. Details of what Somaliland was like in the 1990s are told pretty specifically, and he didn’t mince many words when telling of the horrors people endured at the time. Details of some of the persecution Christians endured through the 1900s are also told at times. There was too much to take many specific notes.