By Phillip Yancey

FaithWords, $23.99, 287 pages

Philip Yancey, a journalist and contemporary spiritual writer known for his ability to boldly address issues of personal and theological quandary, tackles head-on the question of God’s relevance in his newest book: “All pain is pain, I have learned,” Yancey writes in the early chapters of What Good is God?: In Search of a Faith that Matters. “A self-destructive teenager, the recurrence of cancer, a broken neck, a random shooting – they all summon up the same basic questions. What can faith offer at such a time? What good is God?”

Yancey takes us along on his search by first pondering those moments when even the strongest faith can be left teetering precariously. What good is God in a world where a gunman kills 32 students and staff in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre? What good is God in a world where women and children are regularly sold into sexual slavery? What good is God in a world where terrorists attack tourist sites in Mumbai and a dictator like Chairman Mao is permitted to ravage his fragile country with murders and fear? Faith ultimately makes all the difference, Yancey concludes, even when our belief is profoundly tested.

Jennie A. Camp