In Trusting God, Jerry Bridges tackles some big and important questions. How are we to approach the hurdles life throws our way? How can we trust God in spite of difficult circumstances? How are we to trust him even when life hurts?
These questions all give us pause to think at some point in our Christian life. And there are many books which aim to help us deal with these issues. This book stands apart. Bridges points in an uncommon direction for finding help: the sovereignty of God. Most don’t like to think of God’s being behind the very difficulties that make life so painful.
Bridges is under no illusions as to his ability to provide all possible answers to this age old dilemma. He offers hope but the answers aren’t easy or glib. He doesn’t reveal how he has personally conquered all such doubts and how his life story provides the answers to ours. Instead I picture him sitting down, opening his big black Bible and applying Scripture with care. This book is a Bible study, that will pay great dividends to those who dig in and hear what the Bible has to say about trusting God.
Three themes are explored in depth, in Trusting God. The author explains:
In the arena of adversity, the Scriptures teach us three essential truths about God — truths we must believe if we are to trust Him in adversity. They are: God is completely sovereign. God is infinite in wisdom. God is perfect in love. (pg. 16-17)
Most of the book explores God’s sovereignty since so many Christians today are unfamiliar with the term and the concept. Bridges carefully shows the extent of God’s control over this planet and each of our lives. If you are unfamiliar with the Bible’s witness to God’s sovereignty you will be amazed at the number of Bible verses and passages that are examined.
God’s rule over all things gives His children hope. God knows what He is doing, and this circumstance is not out of His control. Jerry Bridges explains, \”There is no agonizing by God, no hoping He has made the right decision, no wondering what is really best for us. God makes no mistakes.\” (pg. 126)
After exploring the three themes of God’s sovereignty, wisdom and love, Bridges deals with how we can apply these Bible truths to our lives. The author’s great confidence in God, by the end of the book, becomes infectious. I particularly appreciated his insight into Christian’s common obsessing over knowing God’s will for us when it comes to a decision. I think his advice on this point is worth repeating at some length:
Consider the book of Acts. The only reference to the disciples seeking to determine the will of God occurs in the choosing of Matthias to succeed Judas. From that point onward, it is a record of God’s guiding His people…. God does have a plan for each of us. He has given each of us different gifts, abilities, and temperaments and has placed each of us in the body of Christ according to His will…. We do have a responsibility to make wise decisions or to discover the will of God, whichever term we may prefer to use. But God’s plan for us is not contingent upon our decisions. God’s plan is not contingent at all. God’s plan is sovereign. It includes our foolish decisions as well as our wise ones. (pg. 181-182)
Isn’t that perspective refreshing? Bridges shares his heart in this book. It doesn’t appear to have been an easy one for him to write. You can tell he’s been through a lot personally and has shared the grief of many who have suffered even more. His personal accounts and illustrations add life to the book. His openness about his sin and failures to trust God is inspiring. He writes with an earnestness and confidence that can only be accompanied by prayers for those of us who would read this important book.
This book will be challenging at times, but the effort is rewarding. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and spend some time learning from Jerry Bridges as he takes you through the Bible. You will be better equipped to face the suffering that is in store for all of us. And you will find yourself trusting God, even when life hurts.
JERRY BRIDGES is an author and conference speaker. His most popular book, The Pursuit of Holiness, has sold over one million copies. Jerry has been on the staff of The Navigators for over fifty years, and currently serves in the Collegiate Mission where he is involved primarily in staff development, but also serves as a speaker resource to the campus ministries.
My thanks go out to NavPress for supplying me with a review copy of this book.
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