The Week in Books 2009, No. 29

Having read several of Jerry Bridges’ books (including Respectable Sins, which was one of the top five books I read last year) I expected I would like Trusting God, but the book far exceeded my expectations. Bridges explores the concept of trusting God by delving deeply into topics like God’s sovereignty, the purpose of hardships and trials, how we ought to respond to God in difficult circumstances, God’s love for us, and our attitudes in response to God’s work in our lives. I appreciated the amount of Scripture Bridges used to make each of his points, and also that he drew from the work of other theologians rather than just using his own experience or anecdotes.

Trusting God is a big recurring theme in my life, so I found this book convicting at many points, but even more than that I found it tremendously encouraging. I have had some circumstances ongoing for the past several years that have been difficult for me and I had been feeling sort of worn down and discouraged lately. Reading this book reminded me in a powerful way of God’s sovereign ability to control even the least of my circumstances, and His promise to work them for His glory and my good. As I mentioned before, Bridges used an abundance of Scripture references in the book, and it was so helpful to me to see again and again how the Bible underlines God’s trustworthiness, sovereignty, and love for His people.

Bridges is not harsh in his writing, but he is firm at points and I found myself particularly convicted of my need to examine my response to God’s providence in my life. I sometimes joke that one of my life verses is Acts 26:14b (“It is hard for you to kick against the goads”) because I waste a lot of time childishly kicking against boundaries and circumstances that God means for my good, which really only hurts me and is unbecoming conduct. As Bridges puts it:

We often resist God’s work in our lives. We often shrink from the rod of God’s discipline instead of seeking to profit from it. We are more desirous of relief from the adversity than we are of its profits unto holiness. But as we look to God to use His discipline in our lives, we may be sure it will in due time produce “a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” [quoting Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.]

I took pages of notes as I read Trusting God and could go on at some length about what I learned, but other readers would probably find different points of interest and application, so I highly recommend it to you for your own reading and study. Bridges writes in an accessible fashion, but his content is deep and solid. I noticed that there is also a study guide for the book, and although I haven’t seen the guide I do think this book would make a great Bible study for a small group or class.

Note: NavPress sent me a review copy of this book, for which I am grateful. You can read more about the book and related materials at the NavPress website.

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