I read this book on holiday after feeling a little left out because so many people were talking about it. I was motivated (at least a little bit) by a desire to be one of those who could say “oh yes, I’ve read God On Mute” I’m glad I have read this book and not just so that I can now join in the conversations with others!
Pete Greig is described frequently with the same adjective: honest. That’s definitely what he is and his writing backs up the description. All the clichés apply here – you will laugh out loud and maybe even shed a tear as Pete reflects personally on genuine struggles with God over the illness which has transformed the life of his wife (Samie) and their entire family. Pete’s frankness makes this book a great read. He adopts the superb approach of taking the Easter story and sequence of events as a pattern that can be followed in our own lives and journey with God. He charts a number of reasons why God may be silent or refusing to say yes to our prayers while also recognising that a checklist or twee explanation of God’s silence in our suffering can often make matters worse!
This book is biblically based, has a personal credibility, draws on the experiences of ordinary people as well as theologians and provides the kind of motivation we all need to persist in prayer. I have one reservation about a reason he offers for God’s silence or unwillingness to answer our prayers… on p187 Greig retells the story of a conversation with a mentor who encourages him after he failed to meet some personal numerical conversion targets in an evangelistic outreach. The mentor apparently said about God’s role in human conversion “it’s not His [God’s] call. The decision to accept or reject Christ sits fairly and squarely with every individual, and no one can make that choice for them – not even God.’ I’m not sure if this understanding sits well with how the Bible outlines God’s role in our salvation.
 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
However this was simply one issue that I disagreed with and at many other times throughout the book I was challenged and encouraged by the fresh and honest approach to this perplexing subject of God’s silent response to our prayers. This book offers hope to all who struggle with this problem (and my guess is that there are very few of us who haven’t wrestled with it at some point). My favourite quote was hard to pick because there were so many but this one was a gem
“The Christian gospel is the story of a God who breaks the rules of plausibility – often when we least expect it and in ways we never could have predicted.”
Thanks for giving me hope Pete! Who knows what’s round the corner…..