Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

Image courtesy of Amazon
Jerry Bridges, likely known for his popular book The Pursuit of Holiness, is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. After thorough enjoying (and being convicted by, in a good way) this title, I came across Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts as a free audiobook download from Needless to say, it's one of my favorite books in its category and one that I can immediately recommend to any Christian reader.

Trusting God is a very practical book with a wide application to many different life scenarios. While Bridges admits from the onset that he does not intend this book for deep suffering and trauma, it does boast a broad reach for nearly any other difficult circumstance that life can experience.

The author starts out with a question asked two ways: "Can you trust God?" and "Can you trust God?" He then gives reasons why we can answer "yes" to both with confidence and certainty. The basis of trusting God, according to Bridges, is threefold: His sovereignty, wisdom, and love. These are three threads that weave throughout the book as he examines a breadth of content areas we often have difficulty trusting in to show that God is worthy of our trust.

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As is the case with his other work I've read, Bridges is very easy to read and is even surprisingly engaging. He writes almost like an old friend writing a letter addressed personally to you, with warmth and honesty. Yet at the same time, I never found him intellectually shallow or wanting. It's clear from the first pages that he knows God deeply and personally, and he rests firmly in Scripture to determine whether his ideas and application are true.

While there are too many specific points to discuss in this review, I will highlight several points I took away that I thought were unique in Bridges' book:

First, God is sovereign over disasters and He does not leave anything to chance or fate. This is something that modern America has difficulty comprehending, simply because of its lack of knowledge of God. Bridges argues that, like Jesus speaking to the wind and sea, nature obeys God's commands. He is sovereign over the weather, and has a purpose for every sun-soaked or rain-drenched day. Here in the rainy and cloudy Pacific Northwest, this is a challenging issue that has the potential to affect many people who struggle with seasonal affective depression.

Second, the balance of free will with God's sovereignty is done very carefully in this book, which I very much appreciate, and is a strength of Bridges' (he walked the same line very effectively in The Pursuit of Holiness). While we trust God's sovereignty, He does not absolve us of responsibility to obey His voice. Likewise, while we are taking action we are in no way interfering with His supreme knowledge or control in our lives or in the entire world. There is nothing we can do that surprises God, which is a comfort to us, yet we will still be held accountable for our actions, which is humbling.

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Third, the area of self-acceptance is addressed by acknowledging that God created us as we are and that He allows deformities and limitations; these are not outside of his sovereignty, wisdom, and love. Bridges forces the difficult, but necessary question, "Is God's glory worth my deformities and sufferings?" He then confidently answers "yes" in that adversity produces endurance and endurance helps us face adversity, which produces the holiness than God seems for all of us. Instead of rejecting adversity, Bridges argues for the rejection of anxiety and acceptance of the trials in life.

Finally, in a thoughtful and compassionate manner, Bridges admonishes the reader to store up these truths about God so that when troubles arise, we can rest securely in them. When we are faced with life's difficulties, it can be a great challenge to begin the work of exploring the sovereignty, wisdom, and love of God because we may not have the motivation, the desire ("I don't feel like doing it"), or the energy to do so. Instead, we ought to seek out His character in the good times so we are prepared to look for and respond to the trials with confidence and victory.

Ultimately, this exposition on trust God has opened up my prayer life and promoted a greater confidence in God to whom I am entreating. As bottom line, Bridges has shown me that trusting is about God pursuing His own glory and our good. We can struggle through hardships in ways that we can make sense of that retain God's holiness and glory, but that also address our need for holiness that is ultimately our good.


CSI said...

Dear Servant of Christ Our Lord,Holy Greetings to you in Jesus Our Lord.When I am Searching For Some Particular Biblical Material for Our Ministries, I have found your site and I read your Sermons,Really they are informative.

I am a Servant of God from India.

If it is God's will and if it is Pleases to you, Please Pray for me and for The Salvation of The Perishing Millions through Our Ministries.

I Pray for you.

Keep Writing and Preaching Good Sermons For His Glory and for The Salvation of The Perishing Souls.

In Christ Our Sovereign Lord

Aaron said...

Hello CSI, thanks for finding and reading my blog! May I ask how you came across it - how you found me here?

Thank you also for your prayers. I am humbled and grateful for them, and will think of them while I write. I will certainly pray for you and for all those across the world who do not yet know Christ. You are in a critical part of the world to bring His message of love and forgiveness, so I will pray He accomplishes this will where you are for the glory of His name and the joy of your people. May you rest in the grace and peace of our Lord!

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