Bill Hybels’ new book The Power of a Whisper is a good read with a great message. It’s a simple but important message every follower of Christ needs to hear.
I’m not sure what I expected when Zondervan sent me a copy of the book to review, but it’s not what I thought it would be. I’m a highlighter guy. I love smell of florescent colored markers and the scratchy/squeaky sound they make when they go across the page. However, I think I only made one highlight throughout the whole book. Now that might sound like it’s a negative, but it’s really more a comment about the type of book it is. The Power of a Whisperisn’t a “how to” book filled with pithy, memorable one-liners. Instead, it’s a stream of narratives and inspirational examples of times when people (usually Hybels) heard the “whisper” of God. It’s not a deep theological covering of the topic, which is what I think I expected.
I’ve only read one other book by Hybels (Courageous Leadership) and this one didn’t stack up quite as well for me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book and I recommend it for people who are looking/needing some inspiration about hearing from God. However, the book weighs in at 260 pages (minus the Appendix). Not a very long read, but I’d say it’s a bit too long for this topic. Or at least the way this topic is handled here. Maybe I’m impatient or ADD, but several times during my reading I found myself nodding my head saying, “Okay, I’ve got it. Let’s get to the next point.” Needless to say, Hybels is thorough. The book is absolutely packed with personal stories and examples from his life. Five of the chapters (4-9) break down God’s whispers into five different categories: written (Scripture), those that come during difficult circumstances, those that are regarding parenthood, those that come through others, and those that change the world. That’s 125 pages of illustrations. Don’t misunderstand me. These are excellent examples of hearing God’s voice…it’s just that there are a lot of them.
Chapter 4, titled “How to Know When You’re Hearing from God” was more of what I was expecting from this book. In it, Hybels outlines 5 filters you can use to determine if God is speaking to you. The filters are helpful and provide some good practical steps to apply some of the inspiration from the examples in the book.
In the end, I don’t think Hybels was trying to write the kind of book I was looking for and that’s fine, because for what it is, it’s a good, solid read. If you are looking for some truly inspiring and moving examples of people hearing and responding to the voice of God, then this book is for you. If you are looking for a book that will provide a lot of practical or deep theological discussion on the issue, then it’s probably not for you.