I am a journalist.  We journalists kind of go scouting for extreme situations as I say in the book, and so many of them have just kind of followed me around. Obviously I did not engineer Virginia Tech or Mumbai, but I found myself as a journalist in the middle of them.  So my job is to go around and report what happens, and to take my own faith and subject it to the questions that are raised by the circumstances I am in the middle of.

CW:  I was fascinated by the examples and interviews that you do, including the ones in China. So often we see extreme persecution in the world, and yet there we find a thriving church.  You asked a minute ago, "What good is God if I am in prison?"  I have always been drawn to the story in Acts 16 about Paul and Silas having done this good work, healing a demon-possessed woman. They're on this mission trip, and have just scored a victory for the Lord, but because of it find themselves beaten and thrown in prison.  However, it is exactly the place where they meet God, where they are living out His will by singing praises and praying at midnight.  That is where the miracle can happen, and the prison doors open.  

Are we seeing tremendous growth in geographic regions of persecution and tragedy because that is where God can show up to perform the miracle, as opposed to the areas of suburban non-need?

PY: [Laughs].  It is an interesting story when you read the Book of Acts because, early on, you do have these miracle stories of Peter being freed from prison by an angel and Paul when the earthquake happens but, at the end of the book, Paul is in prison.  Some Christian books tend to focus on these dramatic miracle stories.  I tend to focus on the people who are still in prison.

One of the people that I met in China was one of the four patriarchs, one of the four founders of the underground church, a man named Pastor Allen Yuan.  And he told me his story.  He was put in prison for 23 years for preaching because he would not be part of the official Communist registered church.  He kept telling me about these miracle stories.  He was sent to Northern China, above Mongolia, and it was very cold.  He said, "I was in there for 23 years, and I never, never got a cold or the flu.  I never got sick." 

He said his job was to join these coal cars. They would have these multi-ton coal cars, and they would slam together with railroad cars, and his job was to put this spike down that kind of joined them.  He said, "The reason they gave me that job was because, very commonly, you would lose a leg or an arm or get crushed. I counted.  I joined more than one million coal cars and never had an accident.  Aren't these miracles?" 

And I, a cynical journalist, said, "Yeah, those are miracles.  But if God can do that, why didn't He just get you out of prison?"