No Pat Answers

Reviewer: Rufus rufus headshot2

 

 

No Pat Answers

No Pat Answers
By Eugenia Price
Zondervan Publishing House, 1972


This is a book about questions to and about God and how those questions have no “pat answers,” meaning, the answers aren’t readily available because we don’t know the mind of God. We all tell ourselves stories to justify the trouble we go through in our daily lives, like “everything happens for a reason” is what we tell ourselves after a tragedy. Well, maybe not. Maybe it’s what we say to comfort ourselves because if we were to speak reality—that tragedy is random and unpredictable—it would be too hard for us to contemplate or comprehend. Ms Price not only asks the questions we ask, sometimes aloud but more often silently, but also gives her reader insight as to why there are no pat answers. She ponders the wonderful mystery of God successfully and truthfully.


Chapters:
What to expect –“The only direct statement of Jesus which is simple enough for me to comprehend when my heart is breaking or when I’m discouraged or scared is: “Follow me.” I cannot understand life because life is not understandable. But I can grasp: Follow me.” Pg 14

  • Ms Price lays the ground work for her book, acknowledging that it may be offensive to some by going against the grain of popular Christian thinking and dogma. She encourages her reader to read with an open heart and mind showing that we hamper God by our limiting thoughts and prayers.

Chapter 1 – Disappointment“The Lord is not obtuse. He does not try to be difficult. The problem may lie with us, with our earthbound inability to see trouble from the viewpoint of eternity as God sees it.” Pg 29

  • We all have disappointments in our lives and the author shows that even our disappointments with God are really disappointments with ourselves. We learn that when we are disappointed in God it may be because we expected God to act the way we wanted Him to, not the way He needs to on our behalf.

Chapter 2 – Disillusionment“We are drawn to other people, to a sunset, to a clear, black shadow across grass, to a passage of music, but only God can draw us to real worship. Any other form of worship is false and will end in disillusionment. ¶Only Jesus Christ cannot disillusion us. It is not that He will not, but that He cannot.” Pg 38

  • When we place our faith in someone or something other than God, we learn we will be not only disappointed but disillusioned. And, that through disillusionment we can learn to regain our faith in God.

Chapter 3 – Failure“She [my young mother] had wisdom enough to teach my brother and me that we might not succeed in everything we tackled, but we could always do our best.” Pg 43

  • Failure is a part of life and learning. We learn not to lose faith when we fail or when we perceive God has failed us. God does not fail us, only our perception of Him. And even though we fail, God does not love us any less.

Chapter 4 – Grief“Philosophers have wrestled with this problem of suffering through grief for as long as there have been philosophers. Jesus walked straight into the midst of this philosophical turmoil. He walked in and declared that tribulation of all kinds is to be expected in this life. Then He said: “Follow me” through it. That would seem to end the turmoil and confusion, but it hasn’t. And only those who are willing to think it through realistically, in the presence of the One who has live through both grief and death, can come to accept the suffering without bitterness.” Pg 66

  • God waits patiently while we gather ourselves after a tragedy and begin to call upon Him again to help us through the pain. When we trust in God, we go through grief rather than be stymied by it and He isn’t put off by our questions.

Chapter 5 – Watching Our Loved Ones Suffer – “The watching period, when you can do nothing, it seems, but watch and wait and wonder in your heart what God’s part in it really is. How He will get you through it. You wonder in your heart and try, try in your own way and according to your understanding to handle the questions that will almost surely come.” Pg 76

  • When we watch over a suffering loved one we wonder if God is there or if He even cares. Ms Price shows that He is and does.

Chapter 6 – Too Young to Die“The young do not go around fearing death. They fear man’s destruction of the earth on which God has set him; they see the futility of man’s favorite game of war. But they don’t fear dying. Death isn’t real to them. In fact, they seem to love macabre events, books, movies, plays. But even though I can’t prove this, I just don’t believe the young think much about their own deaths. It’s too far removed from the exuberance of today.” Pg 81

  • How often do we ask why a child or young adult has to die when old people go on living? Ms Price addresses these questions and why there are no simple answers.

Chapter 7 – Too Old to Live“Our purpose is to face up to the fact that in all of life with God, there is an area of mystery which we will never be able to understand or solve—at least in this life.” Pg 95

  • My grandmother asked the question “why doesn’t God take me?” you don’t have to be old to ask. But we must be willing to accept the answer.

Chapter 8 – The Handicapped“Roger Winter {author of I’ll Walk Tomorrow} believes healing must be sought. Typical of his fine, rational mind, he reminds us that there’s no other way to obtain. It. “But,” he warns, “even the greatest amount of faith can only carry us to the point of God’s touch. It is for Him to extend His healing power as it best suits our total life.” Knowing Roger Winter, I’m sure he would agree with this addition: Only God knows what suits.” Pg 106-107

  • Although Ms Price admits she was unsure of writing this chapter, she shows us that even the handicapped have questions and can find solace in there being no concrete answers.

Chapter 9 – Doubt“There is no moral power in doubt and questioning, but both can lead somewhere if we do not become entrenched in them. Ruts wear quickly in our brains, and the habit of doubt and questioning can land us in those ruts unless we see to it that we stay in motion.” Pg 109

  • Ms Price teaches us the difference between good doubt and not-so-good doubt.

Chapter 10 – The One Answer – “The answer, the One Answer, when tragedy strikes, when sorrow overshadows even our inner light, is faith—confidence in Jesus Christ—a quiet confidence just know that He is there.” Pg 136

  • This isn’t really a spoiler alert, because we knew the one answer was going to be faith. It has to be. Faith in God is the energy that keeps our spiritual being growing.

Ms Price’s observations and questions are real, truthful and easily identifiable to all people. This is easily a book that should be reread multiple times because the layers of truth are so many one reading will not reach them all.

 

My rating: rufus pawrufus pawrufus pawrufus pawrufus paw

 Miss Eugenia Price

born in Charleston, West Virginia, June 22, 1916; died May 28, 1996

author of more than 30 fiction and non-fiction books

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