Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Insanity of God

This morning at church in our Nearly and Newly Married small group, we had the privilege of having Nik Ripken, the author of The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrection talk to us. He and his wife, Ruth, spoke about their experiences and allowed us to ask any questions we wanted. What an amazing opportunity to speak with a couple who have faithfully given their lives to God.

Their life story is haunting and will touch you to your soul. Regardless of your faith, this book is worth a read. Every chapter is full of the questions that most people ask about God, such as how can God allow the oppression and devastation in these third world countries. Their story will also give another point of view for mission work and life outside of our own.

This morning they gave an overview of the book up to the point where the book really goes into detail of their journey in Somalia. Nik was born a country boy in Kentucky and planned on becoming a veterinarian until he felt the call from God to go to seminary school. He met his wife Ruth while they both attended seminary. Ruth was raised in a very Christian household since her father was a pastor and Nik likes to joke that they are both PKs, she's a pastor's kid and he is a pagan's kid. Their backgrounds couldn't have been more different. Ruth had felt the call to mission work since she was a young girl, which was again, very different from how Nik had come to seminary. It's amazing to see how both someone who is raised as a Christian and one who was not, like me, can devote their lives to Christ and see amazing things develop.

The book goes into detail about their beginning mission in Malawi and their move to South Africa, but the biggest focus in on their time in Somalia. The devastation that Nik saw on his initial scouting trips to Somalia and on until they were forced to leave is heart-wrenching. At one poignant time in the book, Nik says, "Some days it wasn’t the humanity of the Somalis that I worried about, but my own humanity and that of my staff. It was nearly impossible for us to find the strength to get out of bed in the morning knowing that before the day was over, we would help bury twenty more children, and that there were many more starving people in this country than the fifty thousand who we would feed that day. If each soul is, indeed, a soul for whom Christ died, how would it be possible to endure the pain, the death, the inhumanity?" This was one point in the book that I just had to stop at because tears had blurred my eyes. The emotional baggage that comes with mission work is overwhelming to me. Nik refers to trying to steel their emotions without hardening their hearts.

While the book was heart-wrenching with devastation, it also showed how a heart filled with love could make a difference in a war torn country. With a smile on his face, in the book Bubba diffuses a tense situation with an Elvis song. This is a book that will make you smile, laugh, cry, and humble your soul.

The couple let us know that a second book is being released in the beginning of 2014. It will be focusing on what lessons they learned and meant to be a slow read and reflected on, whereas this book was more of an easy read (even though I definitely took a longer time to read this than most...I just couldn't help but take time to just sit and absorb it.)

Please take the time to read this heartfelt book, it will change at least one thing in your heart and mind.

Ripken, Nik; Lewis, Gregg (2012-12-17). The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected (Kindle Locations 1319-1322). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.