Book Review: The Insanity of God

Anastasis Faith

       This book changed my perspective on my life.
       While I was in Africa, our hostess gave me this book to read. It’s about 320 pages long, but since I really didn’t have much to do each day when I was not on shift with the children, I was able to finish it while I was there.  

The Insanity of God is the personal and lifelong journey of an ordinary couple from rural Kentucky who thought they were going on just your ordinary missionary pilgrimage, but discovered it would be anything but. After spending over six hard years doing relief work in Somalia, and experiencing life where it looked like God had turned away completely and He was clueless about the tragedies of life, the couple had a crisis of faith and left Africa asking God, "Does the gospel work anywhere when it is really a hard place?  It sure didn't work in Somalia.

Nik recalls that, “God had always been so real to me, to Ruth, and to our boys. But was He enough, for the utter weariness of soul I experienced at that time, in that place, under those circumstances?” It is a question that many have asked and one that, if answered, can lead us to a whole new world of faith.

How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can Good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world’s toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?

The Insanity of God tells a story—a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story—of the Ripkens’ own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.

My thoughts:
       There were two parts to the book—the first was about their relief work in Somalia and the horrific situation there and the second was their journey around the world to the countries in the world that persecuted believers the most. Their question was, “How can faith in Jesus survive in a place like this? Is it possible that a church can be established and kept alive through intense persecution?”
       Their question was answered in dozens of life-changing stories about believers across the world who are suffering intense persecution.
       This book taught me that, no matter what I’m going through, it could always be worse. Not only that, but the opportunities I have in the United States are incredible. We live in one of the only places in the world where we can freely share the gospel without the threat of going to jail or being killed or being forced to watch our families be killed. We actually have Bibles. I have two of them! And I can buy as many as I want! But when Ripken was in China interviewing people, he found out many of the pastors did not have access to a Bible!
       Another huge thing that hit me while I was reading this book was one of the things a Chinese pastor said. He said, “You can only bring into persecution what you already have.” In other words, you’re not going to magically remember Scripture you didn’t memorize. You’re not going to remember hymns you never learned. What you take with you into persecution is what you have before persecution. While we are living in a free country, we need to be packing our minds to overflowing with Scripture.
       Finally, Ripken said something very powerful toward the end of the book. I would give a direct quote and cite it, but I left the book in Africa. ;) Basically, if you are not being persecuted, then you are not sharing the gospel of Jesus. Jesus’ gospel is offensive, and people will hate you for it. So if people are not hating you and persecuting you, then you are not sharing His gospel.
       Wow, that’s convicting for me.
       This book helped me so much in my Christian walk and convicted me of a lot of weaknesses in my life. I would highly recommend this book. It starts out slow, and yes, it’s a big book, but oh you will not regret it. I cried through many parts of it.

Sexual content:
       There were mentions of women being abused in the terrible conditions of Somalia, but there is nothing explicit. There was nothing besides that.

What I didn’t like:
       The beginning was slow. It took a little while to get into it, but the farther you go into the book, the better it gets.

Final Thoughts:
       That’s it.

Have you heard of this book? Do you plan on reading it? Any other really convicting and powerful books that you’ve read? Share in the comments!

Anastasis Faith / Author & Editor

Anastasis is a Texas girl who enjoys writing, blogging, and music. You can connect with her here on her blog, or at


  1. I hadn't heard of this book until your review. It sounds like an awesome read though, so I'll have to check it out. :) A book that I really enjoyed was "Girl Defined : God's Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity " by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird. I know that you follow the Girl Defined blogs, Anna, so I would totally recommend this book if you haven't read it already! :)
    Thanks for another great post!
    ♥♥♥ Laura

  2. Great review! I read this book several years back and it really impacted me as well. To date, it is still the most striking and influential story of its kind I've read. I need to purchase my own copy so I can give it another read!


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