The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected
Nik Ripkin (@NikRipkin)
I read the Kindle version.
I am coming to believe that, as followers of Christ, part of our spiritual growth—perhaps even a rite of passage—involves at least one crisis of faith. I am at such a crucial place right now as I wonder if God is big enough to overcome the massive difficulties I face each day.
When I came across Nik Ripkin’s book, The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected, I knew I needed to read it. And I’m glad I did.
Nik Ripkin (not his real name to protect his contacts) took his family to Africa to work as missionaries and relief aid workers. They moved around in Africa some, before landing in Somolia during the 1990s—before, during, and after the infamous war that brought US and UN soldiers into the land devastated by tribal gang wars.
The only word I was given was this one from a veteran missionary in Kenya: “Be careful, Nik, those Somalis are 99.9 percent Muslim and they eat little Christians like you for lunch!”
–Nik Ripkin, The Insanity of God, from Chapter 9: Why Didn’t I Just Keep My Mouth Shut?
Nik and his family left Somolia exhausted and discouraged. Not long thereafter, their son died and they were devastated. Feeling they had given all they could give, they returned to the US for a time of healing. The question Nik continued to ask was, “Can God make a difference in a place like Somolia?”
He set out on what was intended to be a two-year mission to visit Christians around the world who lived under persecution and learn from them what he could take back to Somolia. His endeavor, however, became a full-time ministry for life.
Speaking to Christians who were imprisoned in Russia, China, Asia and other unnamed places, he learned that God is alive and working much has he did in the New Testament, when persecution was normal and the absence of it was a sign something was wrong.
Looking back now, I understand that one of the most accurate ways to detect and measure the activity of God is to note the amount of opposition that is present. The stronger the persecution, the more significant the spiritual vitality of the believers.
–Nik Ripkin, The Insanity of God, excerpt from Chapter 18: Seeking Answers in the USSR.
As Nik Ripkin spent time with persecuted Christians, his dying faith was resurrected. Despite the persecution they had suffered, persecuted Christians were characterized by joy.
This old man—only days out of prison, without a penny to his name—owned nothing but the clothes on his back and one extra pair of underwear. He had no home to return to and no surviving family to take him in. He planned to live out the remainder of his days much like a New Testament apostle, traveling the land and visiting one house church after another. He would encourage believers in their faith, while trusting the Lord and local bodies of Christ for His provision. He would do that unless, or until, he was arrested and thrown in prison again.
By any standard, Pastor Chang had lived a hard life. He had nothing tangible to show for all of his labor. Even so, he seemed more content, more filled with a spirit of peace, and more aware of the joy of living than anyone I had ever met.
–Nik Ripkin, The Insanity of God, excerpt from Chapter25: One Extra Pair of Underwear.
The writing style was very easy to read. The stories were told with sensitivity, emotion, and a dose of humor at times. And telling stories of persecuted Christians can be difficult, but he minimized the graphic details and maximized the details about believers determined to remain loyal to God at any cost and how they counted it a privilege to suffer for Christ.
The testimonies in The Insanity of God encouraged me, too. It helps put things in perspective and makes you realize what’s important and how we (in the West) have become complacent because of our freedom and ease. It’s a wake-up call, for sure, but more like waking up to sweet music that makes you glad to get up and do something. In fact, if you want to do something, Open Doors has set up a website to point you in the direction of ways to get involved and links to additional sources. Check it out at: http://www.godsinsanity.com/.
I give Nik Ripkin’s The Insanity of God five cups of love.
|The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith ResurrectedBy Nik Ripken with Gregg Lewis / B&H BooksHow far would your faith take you? Would it take you to another continent to help desperate people? Would you still be able to serve them after the sudden death of your child?For Nik and Ruth Ripken the answer to all these questions is yes. For years the Ripken family has ministered in the Muslim world, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa. The Insanity of God tells the story of their remarkable journey. They’ve seen unspeakable evil in Somalia when four of their best friends and Christian converts were killed by radical Muslims, and when their sixteen-year-old son Timothy died suddenly from a severe asthma attack in Kenya. Despite these heartbreaking circumstances, their faith has survived as they learned from the persecuted people they came to serve.
The Insanity of God asks many difficult questions. Questions that are especially difficult for the average American to come to terms with. Yet the Ripken family, along with millions of other persecuted Christians around the world have decided to follow Christ regardless of the personal danger, because they know who Jesus was and is. And that makes all the difference.
|The Insanity of God – eBookBy Nik Ripken & Gregg Lewis (foreword by David Platt) / B&H Books|