There is something about a Mark Batterson book that reminds me of the writings of Malcom Gladwell. Both of these men are curious people. They seem to be curious about everything, so they read and do research across multiple disciplines. (Batterson states that he has read thirty-five hundred books!) The result is typically a treasure trove of interesting facts, stories, and observations. Batterson crams a lot of these treasures in this small book, making it an interesting read. Batterson is the lead pastor of National Community Church, one church with eight campuses in Washington, DC.
The focus of the book is in the subtitle: “How to Hear the Voice of God.” This subtitle intrigued me. And the content of the book didn’t disappoint. The first part of the book reveals the reason he titled the book “Whisper”. The problem of not hearing from God, according to Batterson, is not that God doesn’t speak to us, but that we don’t listen for the voice of God. Too many other voices drown God out. But, why does He speak in a whisper? Batterson believes that it is so that we will be drawn closer to God in order to hear His voice. God is capable of speaking in a loud voice, but prefers the “still small voice” mentioned in I Kings 19.11-12.
Batterson then moves on to describe what he calls “seven love languages” through which God communicates with us. These languages are: scriptures, desires, doors, dreams, people, prompting, and pain. He dedicates a chapter to each of these love languages, making up the bulk of the book. He sprinkles in inspirational stories from his own life, and the life of others to illustrate each point.
I particularly like his observation that we all hear God’s voice differently. He speaks about the different personality types: “…Thinkers and feelers relate to God differently. So do introverts and extroverts. And that goes for all sixteen personality types in the Myers-Briggs matrix, all nine Enneagram types, and all four DISC profiles. What does that have to do with hearing the voice of God? First, we all hear Him a little differently.” (p.56)
I particularly liked the chapter on pain. He shares several stories of people who went through terrible situations in life – physically and emotionally - and how God was at work in each situation. He doesn’t offer Pollyanna answers, but rather talks about how pain is sometimes necessary when it comes to hearing the voice of God.
All in all, this is a good read. Batterson is not so much covering new ground as he is revealing that God speaks to us in many ways. He tells stories well without getting bogged down in too many details. He weaves in several personal stories - not to make himself the hero, but to show how he has struggled with hearing God’s voice like the rest of us. It is an encouraging book that will speak to anyone who has struggled in this area of their faith.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The book is available at https://waterbrookmultnomah.com/books/561568/whisper-by-mark-batterson/#details