Bill Hybels has waited thirty-five years to write this book. Controversy and confusion surrounding the subject has caused Hybels to pause and contemplate how to best communicate how God’s “whispers” have transformed his life. “I’ve come to believe that hearing the quiet whisper of the transcendent God is one of the most extraordinary privileges in all of life,” writes Hybles, “and potentially the most transforming dynamic in the Christian faith.”
The Power of a Whisper is no light journey. It’s an invitation into another way of living. It’s an invitation to repair our broken antennas – to readjust the ears of our heart to hear the whispers of our living God and to respond accordingly.
The truth of the matter is that God speaks. He has spoken and is the “same yesterday, today, and forever.” He’s still speaking to those who’ve put their faith in Jesus. As John 10:3 says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
Hybels’ work captures the essence of this truth, primarily through story. Now, Hybels does not move farther than one chapter before he lays a Scriptural underpinning for hearing God’s voice. He also qualifies what hearing God’s “whisper” even means – namely that it’s not the image that many get of some strong, manly, audible voice descending from the heavens; rather it can be as simple as a verse that comes to mind, a phrase, or a thought. Nevertheless, Hybels chooses to communicate the bulk of the book through stories and experiences of hearing God whisper and responding accordingly.
The Power of a Whisper included a number of things to celebrate. I personally enjoyed Chapter 2 which narrates the history of “Our Communicating God” through Scripture. Chapter 3 is chock-full of personal stories of hearing God’s voice which serve to spark a desire to listen to God throughout one’s own life. I thoroughly enjoyed Bill’s transparency in all of his stories. Hearing God is a learning experience and a muscle to be built – Bill doesn’t pretend to be perfect by any stretch! I found myself laughing at moments, especially the stories that were all-too-familiar for me, while conviction crept upon me as I read about Bill’s own “gutsiness” to obey. Bill’s guidelines included in the appendix for discerning if a word is from God or not were much appreciated.
While the book carries several strong stories and challenging words, a few parts were troubling to me. Chapter 7 on the “Promptings for Parenthood” seemed altogether out-of-place. The chapter tracked through some of Bill’s stories with growing to trust God in raising his kids. This would serve well as a separate pamphlet, but detered from the power of Bill’s point all throughout the book. Another piece of the book that was hard to swallow was its length. The book could be summed up in a paragraph, but manages to be 260 pages because of the quantity of stories Hybels includes from his church and his personal life. Page 253 sums the entire book up nicely,
This is what it looks like to live a life fully surrendered to God. It’s rarely a walk in the park. Obeying the Spirit instead of your own self-centered whims will lead you to places you’ve never been, challenge you in ways you have never been challenged and invite levels of scrifice you never dreamed you could make. This is the power and the promise of full-throttle faith, of living a life fueled solely by God.
Nevertheless, a number of Hybels’ stories pack a punch. I found myself repeatedly encouraged to live a life of full-obedience – to turn my ear and attention to our Living God who’s speaking even now.
Get this book if you’ve struggled with understanding what it means to hear God. Hybels demystifies it and gives you enough stories to encourage you to hear God for yourself and respond acordingly.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan by request in order to review its material. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.