When God is Not There,
by Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki
Published by Alexander Press, 2013
This is an exceptional book written by an exceptional author. With a PhD in biomedical engineering from Harvard and MIT and with NASA as a former employer, Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki is one of those people who, when they speak, should be listened to. When he writes a book about suffering and faith, it must be read. With such a pedigree, one would expect a complex, theoretical analysis. This could not be further from the truth.
His style is simple, yet powerful, and the book is very readable. Metropolitan Nikolaos makes his points through the real scenarios he has encountered as a volunteer at a hospital, and through the questions that he has asked. Through these simple, everyday events and conversations, he grapples with big questions. Despite being a respected scientist, theologian and Orthodox bishop, Metropolitan Nikolaos is unafraid and unashamed to leave some questions unanswered. There is the understanding that God is “inexpressible, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever existing, ever the same”.
The title of the book shows how we feel in those moments when we are struggling with a problem or when we start to lose faith, when God’s incomprehensibility and invisibility are negatives rather than positives in our eyes. What is conveyed throughout the book, however, is the sense that in these moments it is impossible for humanity to understand the benefits of God’s workings. This book shows that everything comes about because of God’s will. The message of this book is that in the darkest hours of our existence when we think that God isn’t there and when we think He isn’t present, that He is always there and always works in our interest, whether we know it or not.
Source: Lychnos October / November 2016