Philip Yancey spoke to the suffering community of Newtown, Connecticut in late December last year, his publisher offered free downloads of his classic book ‘Where Is God When It Hurts?’. Within a few days, readers grabbed 100,000 copies of a book that had already sold nearly 1.5 million units. There was no author they trusted more than Yancey, a thoughtful and honest wrestler with the deepest questions of life and faith.
What is God up to—or not—in a world of such tragedy and pain? “Whether the question is raised in Newtown or Boston, Japan or Sarajevo, a hospital emergency room or the wreckage of an airline crash, it always comes back to the same anguished cry,” said Yancey.
“I want to pass along what I have learned from the land of suffering,” he explained. The Newtown event capped an unusual year for Yancey. In 2012, he spoke on “Where is God when it hurts” in three different places around the world scarred by unthinkable catastrophe. Catalyzed by the overwhelming need, he set his planned work aside and in record time wrote a new manuscript on the age-old anguish. He no sooner finished the manuscript in early 2013 when tragedy hit again, as bombs took lives and limbs at the Boston marathon…and again, as more than a thousand factory workers perished in one Bangladesh building…and yet again, as a fertilizer plant exploded in West Texas…and as an earthquake killed nearly two hundred and injured eight thousand in Sichuan, China…and as tornadoes ripped towns and lives apart in Oklahoma…and on it goes.
Because timing was his top priority, Yancey chose an initial self-published digital release with Amazon Kindle. He is partnering for the August 2013 launch with Creative Trust Media, a sister company of Yancey’s Nashville-based literary agency. The book is scheduled for a forthcoming re-release in December 2013 with a major trade publishing partner across trans-media platforms. “Philip and I chose an innovative path that maximizes the benefits of both worlds,” said his literary agent, Kathryn Helmers of Creative Trust, Inc. “Our experiment blends the nimbleness of self-publishing with the saturation coverage of conventional publishing.”
“I am well aware that no book can ‘solve’ the problem of pain,” said Yancey. “But grief is the place where love and pain converge. if Christians have good news of God’s love to share—some message of hope or comfort for a wounded world—it must begin here.”
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