Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 156:621 (Jan 99) p. 101
by the Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary
Cries of the Heart. By Ravi Zacharias. Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998. v + 224 pp. $12.99.
Engaging, yet intensely thought-provoking, Zacharias’s latest work is difficult to put down. Still, the reader is advised to read slowly to absorb what requires careful contemplation. Subtitled Bringing God Near When He Feels So Far, the book addresses the feelings of futility that can overwhelm the heart, rendering the accomplishments of life empty and meaningless. Divided into seven chapters, the book addresses six cries of the human heart and the cry of God’s heart for His people. Instead of the often asked, “How can it be wrong when it feels so right?” Zacharias asks, “How can things be right when they feel so wrong?” (p. xv). In other words, Do the questions of the heart not matter? Throughout the book the author consistently reinforces that each need does matter. They matter so much that God has provided a way for all the needs of the human heart to be met.
In the final chapter God’s cry for His people to worship Him is addressed. God longs for His creation to worship Him, and the cries of the human heart can be met only when this is recognized. From the prophet Malachi, the author introduces four essential components of worship, interestingly by developing what worship is not. Worship cannot be done without love, sacrifice, obedience, or right motives. Proper worship, then, becomes the key to a right relationship with the Creator, answering the cry of the human heart that transcends all others.
Two chapters are of special interest. In addressing the cry for a reason in suffering, the author takes a fresh look at the Book of Job, developing the concept of a redemptive suffering, “where one whose own life has been touched by the Savior in his or her own suffering can pray more honestly and effectively on behalf of those who have not yet gone through the fire” (p. 90). Those interested in a philosophical development of the problem will not be disappointed, since a postscript further develops the question of how God could have created the world when He knew suffering would be a consequence.
Also of unique interest is the chapter entitled “The Cry for Freedom in Pleasure.” Rather than feeling guilty in pleasure, believers need to learn to enjoy the God-given pleasures of life. Developing something akin to a biblical theology of pleasure, Zacharias extrapolates this driving principle: “Any pleasure that refreshes you without diminishing you, distracting you, or side-tracking you from the ultimate goal is legitimate pleasure” (p. 132).
In the foreword to the book Max Lucado commends Zacharia...
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